Tips and Links for Navigating Through Airline Delays and Cancellations

Thousands of passengers were left stranded on Sunday as after an electrical fire shut down operations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for more than 10 hours.

Delta Air Lines is the major carrier in Atlanta, the world's busiest airport, but Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is a strong second — operating a significant number of flights there.

Southwest has also offered refunds on any flights that were canceled. Driving has been the preferred alternative for many of the affected passengers, but rental car inventory is now running low at the airport, which handles about 250,000 passengers every day.

So what can you do to avoid being stuck in a similar situation?

Distance yourself from the airport: If you can't fly out and you can't get a car, find a hotel or some place farther out. You could have more luck finding a rental at some of the local offices away from the airport.

Distance is still OK when negotiating with the airline: Most people think they have to talk to a worker at the airport when their flight is canceled. It's not true, but speed matters. Get online or on your phone and try to negotiate some way to there or get your money back. Sometimes you can get through to help faster on the phone, than waiting on the few kiosks operating in the airport.

Pack wisely: It may sound silly, but no matter where you're traveling, be sure to pack a portable cellphone charger in your carry-on luggage. You may also want to include a few snacks and even an empty water bottle that you can fill up and keep on you as you deal with delays over the holidays.

Don't be afraid to ask: Ask your carrier for a refund, to travel on another airline, or simply to speak with a manager — whatever it takes.

If you're scheduled to fly to Atlanta, and are concerned about your flight, most major airlines are helping consumers come up with alternative plans.

We've compiled the following links for you to quickly find a flight status or learn how to make changes.

Check Flight Status:

Make Changes:

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