Last Updated on January 9, 2020
Flight cancellations due to weather are the most irritating things that can happen to travelers, especially after all the preparations, planning, and payments.
During the coldest season when travel rush is at its peak, hearing that your flight has been canceled isn’t that uncommon, leaving both airline employees and passengers totally stressed out.
In fact, last Thanksgiving, airlines canceled hundreds of flights in the Midwest and Northeast.
The right question to ask is not what happens if your flight is canceled due to weather but rather what to do when it actually happens.
Here are 7 things you should and shouldn’t do when your flight is canceled or you’re stuck at the airport because of terrible weather.
#1 – Check your airline’s website, app, and social media pages at the first sign of weather trouble
If your trip is for a very important event, work, or any other critical obligation that you just cannot afford to miss, you need to frequently check out your airline’s website, app, Facebook page, and Twitter account.
That’s where airlines announce travel advisories and weather alerts so travelers can move their flights to earlier or later dates so they can skip a big storm or any other weather mess without ruining their travel plans.
On the bright side, when changing your flight, you won’t have to pay any fee or fare difference. Plus, you may even get lucky and get a better flight than the one you booked at first.
#2 – Don’t leave your house before checking your flight status and airline notifications
Never wait until you already are at the airport to check for new notifications from your airline.
You actually have no excuse not to know about a flight delay or cancellation unless it’s last-minute news. Normally, airlines warn travelers about any flight troubles through their mobile apps, text, email, or even a phone call if it was provided in the traveler’s contact information.
Moreover, in case your flight is canceled, certain airlines would book you the next available flight automatically.
So make sure to always insert your contact information when booking flight tickets.
#3 – Consider airline self-service options to rebook a flight
Fortunately, there are better options than waiting in a line at the customer service counter or contacting the airline’s reservations centers when you want to book a new flight.
Several airlines would let you rebook a flight on their websites and apps, that if you haven’t already rebooked your flight or in case the flight they chose isn’t suitable for you.
Although you’re not a jet setter, it’s only smart to download your airline’s app. This way you’ll get access to information that might not be available at the airport, or at least it’ll reach you sooner.
#4 – Know when to not take the trip
You should refrain from taking the trip in case rebooking is really stressful or troublesome and the reason you’re traveling can wait for another time. Keep in mind that when your flight gets canceled, airlines are required to refund your payment even if your plane ticket is non-refundable or even if it’s a basic economy ticket.
#5 – Don’t expect the airline to pay for your food, hotel, or car expenses while you’re stuck somewhere
If you cannot come or go because of bad weather, you should know that airlines aren’t required to offer any type of compensation for accommodations, meals, or an additional rental car during flight cancellations and delays due to weather.
With this in mind, it’s really useless to shout at a gate agent or on the airline’s Twitter because it will change nothing. You can even take a look at the US Department of Transportation’s website to confirm this information and learn about your fly rights.
#6 – Avoid last-minute hotel booking
You must never wait until the last moment to reserve an airport hotel. Otherwise, you’d risk ending up on the terminal floor during threatening weather conditions, like storms.
Following a late flight cancellation, airlines often offer stranded passengers lists of nearby hotels. Sometimes, they even offer discounts. However, you can prepare yourself in advance by rushing to book a hotel room as soon as you receive the bad news that your flight has been canceled.
You can download the HotelTonight app to make bookings easier. Don’t forget to look for hotels that offer free breakfast to reduce costs.
#7 – Ask for a break
In case your trip has been delayed one day or more following a flight cancellation, make sure to ask hotels and travel companies for a break. Hotels often have more merciful policies when it comes to cancellations compared to airlines, particularly if the cancelation is due to major weather conditions.
All you need to do is be kind and sweet to the person on the other side of your phone call.
Has your flight been canceled? How was your experience with your airline? Please share your thoughts in a comment.