Be a Proactive Flier when Weather Threatens

After properly planning your trip by carefully researchingyour cheap traveloptions, including cheapairplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, and cheap vacation packages, itwould be a shame to have to deal with your vacation being delayed before iteven starts.

Unfortunately, bad weather sometimes keeps planesgrounded.  Worse, sometimes airlines willinvoke bad weather, or “acts of God” as an excuse for cancellations that may actuallybe due to mechanical problems or other mishaps. 

The reason an airline might blame weather for a delay orcancellation is that then it is not legally obligated to provide travelers withlodgings or meals if a delay or cancellation is due to weather.

Passengers are not powerless in the face of airlinedelays.  The following are proactivesteps you can and should take, according to Robert Firpo-Cappiello:

·     Researchweather and contingency plans in the days before you fly.  Check weather forecasts for your departingairport, any connecting stops, and your destination.  Keep a list of hotels at each of thoseairports.


·     Keepyourself informed by checking on your flight prior to departing your home or onthe way to the airport.  UseTripAdvisor’s GateGuru app to check weather conditions and flight schedulesbefore arriving at the airport.


·     Rememberthat you will always receive better service when dealing with airline personnelif you are nice.  If your flight iscancelled or delayed, immediately call your airline’s reservations number orvisit a gate agent.  Request to be bookedon the next available flight. 


If you are concerned about missing aconnecting flight, share this with the airline since sometimes airlines canoffer special services to connecting passengers.  If no flights are available, politely requesta hotel and meal voucher. 


·     If toldthe delay is due to weather, ask politely whether the delay is only due toweather or a combination of weather and “other factors.”  If your airline representative admits thatsome other factor, such as mechanical problems, is also involved, repeat yourpolite request for hotel and meal vouchers. 


·     Requesta “distressed travel” rate if forced to pay for a hotel room.


·     Beinsurance savvy.  If you are booking apackage tour or cruise, you can often purchase an affordable policy that allowsyou to cancel for any reason at any time. If you are traveling anywhere remote, appropriate insurance for medicalevacuation should be investigated.


·     Alwayspack your carry-on with “emergency” items. This is particularly important when weather may threaten your travelplans.  Keep a change of clothes, ajacket, and all medication that you might need in your carry-on.
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