Avis airport guide
Running into issues at the airport is the last thing any of us want just before setting off on our travels. Whether you’re jetting off on holiday, visiting friends or family or travelling for work, we at Avis are here to make your airport experience as stress-free as possible.
That’s why we’ve prepared this simple, straightforward guide to handling some of the most common problems you may encounter at the airport, making it just that bit easier to get to where you need to be.
Arriving at the airport
How early should I get to the airport?
The airport can be an unpredictable place which is why it’s best to arrive in plenty of time, so that if any unexpected dramas do arise, you’ll be able to handle them -without risking missing your flight.
While every trip is different, generally, we recommend getting to the airport two hours earlier than your departure time for a domestic flight and 3 hours prior for an international flight. If you’re flying during peak travel times, like school holidays, weekends or over the festive period, you may want to arrive to the airport even earlier to avoid large queues or potential issues.
Queues and getting through security
Why are airport queues so long?
We’ve all been there – the dreaded airport queue. It’s never a particularly fun experience being stuck in a line before your holiday, feeling like time has slowed to a crawl. So, why are airport queues so long? While every queue will have its own cause, here are some of the most common reasons:
Increased passenger volume – As more people now travel by air, especially during peak times, airports can become overcrowded and cause long queues.
Limited staffing – Increasingly over recent years, airports have been suffering from a lack of staff in all areas of operation. Pairing this with increased passenger volumes, long airport queues have become more common as a result.
Flight delays or cancellations – When flights are delayed or cancelled, it can create longer queues at airline counters as passengers attempt to reschedule their travel plans.
How long does it take to get through airport security?
Unfortunately, there is no useful way to predict how quickly you’ll be able to get through airport security until the day of your journey. On good days you can breeze through - on bad days you could be stuck in a queue for hours. While we can’t guarantee how long it will take, we can offer these recommendations to make sure your time spent in airport security has as few issues as possible:
Be prepared – Make sure you have all your important documents and items easily accessible like your boarding pass, ID and any liquids or electronics that will need to be removed from your bag.
Pack smart – We recommend checking prior to your flight what you can and can’t bring with you, including if anything is restricted or prohibited in the country you’re flying to. Carrying prohibited items through airport security may even result in you missing your flight due to the delay.
Dress appropriately – Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off and avoid wearing items with metal that may set off the metal detectors. This will make the process as quick and straightforward as possible.
Flight delays and claiming compensation
How long does a flight have to be delayed to claim compensation?
The rules and regulations regarding compensation for delayed flights vary depending on which country you are in, so it’s always best to check with your airline in the case of any delays.
With that in mind, if you are flying from, to or within the UK – you are covered by UK law, which states that airlines are required to pay monetary compensation if your flight is delayed by more than three hours. The amount of compensation varies depending on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay but can range from £220 to £520.
However, you are not eligible for compensation if the disruption is caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as extreme weather, employee strikes or a security risk.
How to claim compensation for a delayed flight
Contacting your airline’s customer service department or visiting their website is the first step in how to claim compensation for a delayed flight. From there, they can assist and inform as to whether you are eligible, and if so, arrange any payment of compensation back to you.
What to do if your flight is cancelled
A cancelled flight is never ideal but unfortunately they happen from time to time, for a number of reasons. Due to the disruption to your travel plans and the financial cost of the cancellation to you, you may be entitled to compensation or a refund.
The first thing to do is speak to the airline directly. They will help to either rebook you on the next available flight or work toward getting you monetary compensation.
If you need to get to your destination urgently but your airline is unable to provide an alternative in time, we advise seeking alternative means of transportation like renting a car, catching a train or taking a coach. While it can be difficult knowing what to do when an airline cancels your flight, don’t panic – everyone at the airport is working hard to get you where you need to be.
Why has my flight been cancelled?
There are several reasons why your flight may be cancelled. The most common reasons include:
- Poor weather conditions
- Airport disruption due to strikes or staffing issues
- Security issues
- Technical issues with the aircraft
Whatever the reason may be, be assured that no flight is cancelled without good reason, with your safety and wellbeing being a top priority for the airline.
What should I do if I think I am going to be late for my flight?
If you’re likely to be late for your flight, for whatever reason, the first step you should take is to call your airline and let them know. While they won’t be able to hold the flight, they could help with rebooking you onto another or could offer support in other ways. If you’re running just a little late, they may even advise you to still attempt to reach your flight. Flights are delayed or held all the time, so there may still be an opportunity for you to board before departure.
What to do when you miss your flight
There are few things more frustrating than travelling all the way to the airport, only for your plane to have left without you. Whether you were running late or it was due to an issue out of your control, you’re likely wondering what happens next if you missed your flight.
If you’ve simply lost track of time, got stuck in traffic or are late for any reason unrelated to the airline directly, there will unlikely be anything they would be able to do for you. The best next course of action would be to speak with a member of staff to arrange to book a replacement flight, or to seek alternative means of transport such as renting a car from the airport.
It’s important to remember that airlines are not liable for missed flights due to long airport queues. From the airline’s perspective, if you miss your flight because you were not at the gate in time, it is deemed to be your fault. If this does happen to you, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to claim any form of compensation.
How do I claim lost baggage at the airport?
If your luggage has been lost at the airport, it’s likely to be a stressful experience – especially if you’re not sure what to do next. Here are the things you need to do to locate your lost baggage at the airport and how to claim for missing items.
Firstly, most airports have a dedicated baggage desk in their baggage claims area, where they handle all lost property at the airport. Here you will need to complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). After this is done, the handling agent will be able to track your luggage using its barcode and should be able to let you know its whereabouts. In most cases, the airline will be able to trace your bag and have it delivered back to you within a few days.
If your luggage isn’t returned to you within 21 days, it is considered lost and you have the right to claim compensation either from the airline or from your travel insurance provider. To claim compensation for your lost luggage, you must write to the airline within 7 days of the property being declared lost, explaining the situation and providing details of your flight. The fixed amount of compensation that an airline is required to pay you may be less than value of the items lost, so its best to check first with your travel insurance provider if you are able to claim with them.
While having things go wrong at the airport can be a headache, it’s important to remember that there are people there to help and to get you where you need to be. By keeping this information in mind, you can be prepared to handle any airport issues that may get thrown your way.
Thankfully, you can rely on Avis to help make your experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible with our guides to some of the UK and Europe’s most popular airports.
Just landed in Manchester Airport? Read our guide to the local area, including driving recommendations, car rental information and FAQs.
If you’re visiting Scotland’s historic capital, we recommend reading our Edinburgh Airport car hire guide, which includes local driving tips and recommendations for scenic driving routes.
For those for landing in the sunny Costa del Sol, we’ve prepared this simple guide to make renting a car at Malaga Airport a breeze.
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