How to Handle Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations

February 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Unless you’re one of the lucky few that live in areas that haven’t been hit by extreme weather this winter, you can probably attest to the fact that at times, this year’s weather has made it nearly impossible to even go to the grocery store, much less travel. By the end of January, thousands of flights had been cancelled due to severe weather conditions.

Whether you’re traveling soon or in the future, it always pays to be prepared to successfully handle a flight cancellation.

1. Avoid connecting flights at certain airports

Snow in MN Airport

Snow in MN Airport (Photo credit: nengard)

While the recent snow and ice down south has proven that at times, it can be hard to avoid severe winter weather, there are certain regions you’ll probably want to avoid flying in and out of during the winter months. If you have a few different options for your layover, try to avoid airports in the Midwest, Northeast and Rocky Mountain areas.

2. Know before you go

A few days before your trip, check the weather forecast for your destination and any layover cities. If you’re heading into severe weather conditions, contact the airline to see if they’ll allow you to rebook or change your flight route without penalty.

3. Stay alert

Sign up for flight status notifications from the airline you’ll be traveling with. When flights are cancelled, time is of the essence — if you wish to get put on a new flight, you’ll want to be one step ahead of everyone else.

4. Act fast

If your flight is cancelled, you’ll need to act fast in order to land a seat on another flight. If you’re already at the gate when your cancellation is announced, chances are everyone will rush over to the desk agent for assistance. Avoid the mob. Call the airline’s 1-800 number or walk down to another gate serviced by the airline and get assistance there. While you may instinctively visit the carrier’s website for assistance, your best bet is to speak to a real, live person.

5. Know your alternatives

If you think there’s a good chance your flight will be cancelled, do a bit of research before your trip and find alternative flight routes. In the event that your flight is cancelled, you’ll be well-prepared to get re-booked quickly, and perhaps via an option that the desk agent hadn’t even been aware of.

Do you have any tips for successfully surviving flight cancellations? Share them with us in the comments section.

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