Use These Helpful Phrases If Your Flight Gets Canceled

 “Operator, please connect me to customer service.” “The first thing you should do is call the airline, even while you’re waiting in line to be rerouted,” says Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge, an air-traveler assistance firm. “This way, you’re essentially cutting the line in front of you.” To expedite the rebooking process at the major airlines, keep these numbers in your wallet (click here for a downloadable version):

“Can I get you a sandwich?” If the phone lines are jammed and you do have to speak to someone in person, “don’t forget that ticket agents have been doing this all day, and many haven’t had a break,” says Snyder, who says that offering a sandwich or coffee can help differentiate you from other demanding customers.

“What about Rule 240?” No longer an actual rule, this term refers to the airlines’ “contract of carriage.” Terms vary among airlines, but “most major airlines have to take your ticket and endorse it toward the next available flight, even if it’s a competitor’s,” says Peter Greenberg, author of Tough Times, Great Travel ($10, One caveat: You can’t take advantage of this if you checked bags.


Airline Customer Service Numbers
South West Airlines 800-435-9792

American Airlines 800-433-7300

Continental Airlines 800-525-0280

Delta 800-221-1212

JetBlue Airways 800-538-2583

Northwest Airlines 800-225-2525

United Airlines 800-241-6522

US Airways 800-428-4322

SouthWest Airlines Customer service 800-435-9792

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