Airport Booking Strategy In-Flight Experience Travel Etiquette

9 Sentences You Don’t Want to Hear While Traveling

There are some phrases that strike dread into the hearts of every traveler, like: “Your flight has been delayed”.

Things You Don’t Want to Hear While Traveling

Here’s what to do when you’re told one of these nine things you don’t want to hear while traveling.

“Your Flight Has Been Delayed/Canceled”

[st_content_ad]Be ready to spring into action as soon as your flight status changes—this means having text alerts set up so you’ll know the instant your trip is delayed or canceled. Even if a long delay is something you really don’t want to hear, knowledge is power. This can give you a head start on other flyers, and gives you a better shot at changing your flight. Don’t forget to save the numbers of your airline in your phone so that you can immediately take action.

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“Your Room Isn’t Ready Yet”

In an ideal world, you’d be ushered into your hotel room the minute you arrive on the property, no matter how early you are. In reality you might have to wait, however. Ask the hotel to store your bags for you, and for access to the spa/gym so you can change and have a shower if needed. If you’re arriving after the published check-in time and your room still isn’t ready, you should definitely ask to be compensated for the delay—whether that’s a late check-out, a discounted rate, or complimentary drinks.

“We Lost Your Bag”

Watching an empty baggage carousel spin around without your luggage is no way to start (or end) a vacation. Even worse is hearing the ultimate phrase travelers don’t want to hear—that an airline has lost your bag. You’ll have to file a claim before you leave the airport, and the airline should be able to deliver your luggage to you (wherever you are) within a few days. But don’t forget to keep receipts for anything that you had to buy in the meantime so you can get reimbursed.

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“Sorry, the Gate Already Closed”

Your flight might leave at 7:15am, but check the fine print on your ticket—it’s likely that the door closes 10 or 15 minutes before the stated departure, meaning you’ll be left stranded at the gate if you sprint up at 7:10. If you’re told that you’re too late, there’s no point in yelling at the gate agent—instead, politely ask for his or her help in getting on the next available flight.

“This Flight Is Overbooked”

The first sign of overbooking troubles might appear when you go to check in and are offered the chance to give up your seat for a paltry sum of flight vouchers. That likely means your flight is oversold, which is something you definitely don’t want to hear if you have to get somewhere soon. Make sure you know your rights and know exactly what you’re entitled to if you are involuntarily bumped: Print out our air passenger rights guide and stash it in your carry-on (or download it to your phone) for easy go-to reference.

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“The Overhead Bins Are Full, You Need to Check This Bag”

The flight is full, but you’re in one of the last groups to board. Prepare to hear those dreaded words: “You’re need to check that bag.” Even if the gate-check is free, it’s still a nuisance to wait around for your luggage after a flight when you plalnned on rolling off the plane and out the airport doors. To avoid having to gate-check your bag, try bringing along a carry-on that will fit underneath your seat, which you should be allowed to bring on no matter how full the overhead bins are.

Also be sure to check the dimensions of your carry-on bag—many are advertised by the measurements of just the bag and don’t include the wheels, which means that your suitcase wont’ fit in an unforgiving airline sizer, and could lead to you being forced to gate-check or pay a fee.

“Your Passport Isn’t Valid”

Your passport might not expire for months, but some countries, for example China and Brazil, require you to have a passport that’s valid for six months beyond your date of entry. Make sure to check the rules of your destination here well before you book your ticket.

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“It’s Sold Out”

Ferry, train, or admission tickets—you can’t always just walk up to a box-office window and buy these things. When possible, book in advance online to likely save money plus be able to skip a line, or at least research how likely it is that you’ll be able to buy a same-day ticket.

“I Don’t See Your Reservation Here”

Always print out or save on your phone the confirmations for your hotel/train/flight before you travel, especially if you’ve booked through a third-party site. Reservations do get lost, and the only way you’ll have any right to a replacement or reimbursement is to have concrete proof of your booking.

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Follow Caroline Morse Teel on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for travel inspiration and more advice on what to do when faced with things you don’t want to hear while traveling . 

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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