Every now and again we get hit with the harsh reality that mother nature is superior to the strength of the human race. This winter has been extremely active and flight cancellations due to weather have been in the thousands. So the question is – What should you do in the event that your flight is cancelled due to weather?
Airlines rarely give you a free hotel stay if your flight is cancelled due to weather, with that in mind make sure you are able to change your flight before everyone else rushes to do the same. If you are waiting at the gate and the flight is officially cancelled, your best bet will be to call the airline directly using your cellphone, unless you are one of the top 5 people in line at the gate to speak to a ground crew agent. Agents take a long time at the gate to change flights, mostly because everyone is frustrated and there is a high volume of passengers. However, if you call the airlines reservations department you will usually get helped within 5-15 minutes, even quicker if you’re an elite member.
You should ask the reservations agent to schedule your flight to leave on their first available flight. Keep in mind that you may be stuck at the airport for a while, if you have family in the area ask them to pick you up, otherwise, you will be spending anywhere from 6 hours to a day or more in the airport. If you are in a rush to get home it may be a good idea to ask for flights out of a nearby airport. For example, if you live in Miami you may want to have the agent check Fort Lauderdale (FLL) or if you’re in Washington, D.C. have them check out Dulles (IAD), Reagan (DCA) and Baltimore (BWI), you will usually find availability out of a smaller airport during a storm than the top ones such as MIA or DCA.
I always tell my friends that if a storm is predicted to hit around the time of their departure or if a storm is imminent at their destination they should call the airline and ask if they are waiving their change fees due to bad weather. This usually saves you the stress of dealing with angry passengers and flustered airline staff at the airport. It also saves money on gas, metro fare or an expensive cab fare.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to comment below and we will answer as soon as possible. Cheers!