What To Do: Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations

Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations

Here are my go-to tips, websites and apps for all you need to know about weather delays and cancelations:

1. Research: I don’t leave home without knowing the weather where I am and where I’m going—including at layover airports. I use Weather.com and this handy traveler’s weather page I made that even includes the turbulence forecast.

If there’s a huge storm forcing mass cancelations I check with the airline to see if they’ve adjusted their change policies due to the weather so I can rebook without a penalty and fly when there won’t be any hassles. Here’s a list of airline policies:

Airline travel policies
Air Canada | Air TranAlaska | American AirlinesBritish Airways | Delta | Frontier | Hawaiian | JetBlue | Southwest | Spirit | Sun Country | United US Airways | Virgin America | WestJet Every Airline Website and Phone Number

FAAIf there’s disruptive weather in any of the destinations relevant to me, I’ll then check the FAA’s (Federal Aviation Administration) Flight Delay Information – Air Traffic Control System Command Center. It lists general airport conditions at the US’s top 23 major airports.

2. Sign up for flight notifications: Since the Air Traffic Control System Command Center is not flight-specific, I always sign up for flight status notifications, offered for free by each airline. They will send you text or email messages with status updates so you can know you’re staying up-to-date.

3. Load up your phone: Be sure to load your phone with your airline(s)’s toll free phone number(s) just in case there is a cancelation. Tip: If your flight is canceled then get in line as soon as possible and at the same time, also get on the phone and call the airline directly. Usually the airline representative at the call center can rebook you on a flight faster than the line moves and you have the chance to speak to customer service or the gate agent. Important: Time is of the essence since there aren’t a lot of flights these days with empty seats and you want to get one before they are all gone. You can also try rebooking by using your smart phone or laptop but most airlines aren’t that advanced yet.

Good to know: Here’s a website that I created which has every airline phone number in the world. It’s called AirlineNumbers.com.

Twitter4. Use Twitter: I also like to follow my airline and airports on Twitter. On my Twitter handle (@JohnnyJet) I have all kinds of lists including Airlines on Twitter, U.S. Airports on Twitter and International Airports on Twitter. Most airports are not that active, so don’t get your hopes up, but there are a bunch of airlines that are amazing and some can even help you rebook by reaching out to them via a tweet. My favorite is American Airlines (@AmericanAir). They respond immediately.

Here’s another useful Travel Twitter Resource Page.

FligthtCaster5. Useful apps/websites: I’m a fan of FlightCaster.com—which can give me a good idea if my domestic flight will be on time or not by putting in my flight info 6 hours before.

Like every frequent traveler, one of my favorite apps is TripIt.com. The site has a free version but their pro version is worth the $49/year if you travel a lot, as they notify you of delays, cancelations, gate changes and other flight details.

In case there are mass cancelations, I don’t wait for an airline to reserve me a hotel room. I jump on it as soon as I know I’m spending the night. My favorite app for last minute hotel rooms is HotelTonight. But I also use Priceline.com and in case I need to drive somewhere, I carry numbers of car rental agencies.

Good to bookmark: Hotelnumbers.com & CarRentalNumbers.com.

6. Get help: In case you’re in a real bind and didn’t book through a travel agent, you can call CrankyConcierge.com. For a fee they will help you make other flight arrangements, find a hotel or transportation and assist you in resolving disputes.

I hope these tips are useful this week and long after, and if you want more, be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and sign up to my free weekly newsletter at JohnnyJet.com.

Happy travels!

Comments

  1. Florida RV says:

    Thanks for the tips. Those are really good. I sort work in the travel industry and I’d like to use twitter more for our company. I actually haven’t ever had a airline cancelled before, I hope it never happens, but you never know. I work for a RV dealership in Florida, so most of our customers don’t worry about that, lol :)

  2. There should be a list of the airlines and hotels non-toll free numbers. If you are overseas and use an AT&T or some other pre-paid calling cards you cannot use the card to call a toll-free number. These numbers exist.

    Before I had a world-GSM phone, I had the Ft. Worth, TX, local, direct-dial number for American Airlines just in case. That was in the days when the 800-number didn’t work in Dallas-Ft. Worth and you could call it from Europe using an AT&T calling card.

  3. Great site. I came here after listening to you on TWIT show with Leo Laporte.

    FYI, add one more ‘L’ to the word cancellation in the title.

  4. One other tip I’d add to your recommendations is to research your alternative options before speaking with a representative to rebook – this includes alternative flights and your airlines policy on rebooking with another airline. I’ve found that the ‘next available’ isn’t always the best option whether it be too short of a connection through an airport known for delays or a connection that makes you go in the opposite direction to get to where you’re actually going. Also, airlines are more likely to rebook you with themselves when rebooking with another airline may actually be within policy and a better option. If nothing, the research is a great way to pass time while you wait in line/on the phone for rebooking.

  5. maybe i have been lucky but i never have had a flight cancellations in the past few years in fact when ever I check in with the delta app it tells me if I can’t make my connection or if there is flight delays or cancellations that it will rebook me if i choose too.

  6. Thanks for posting this. Last time I traveled was pre-9/11 and having an upcoming business trip in January, I wanted to be prepared. I will be back!

  7. Seems like I read about a website used to check on the status of the incoming flight that will be your departing aircraft. Do you know anything about this site?

  8. Oops – finally found it. If you enter your flight info at “AirlineFlight Tracker” on FlightAware.com, a page opens up with a link to “Track Inbound Flight” just under your flight number. I’m happy to learn today that my incoming aircraft is coming from IAH and not NWR.

  9. Don’t always believe what the airline desk tells you and check back frequently. I usually fly the cheapest flight possible and recently took Spirit from Tampa to Phoenix and return, with a connection in Chicago. My return flight from Phoenix to Chicago was delayed by a storm that tore across the southwest, closing Dallas Airport. My flight was not until midnight, but I always try to arrive early. When I went to the airline desk they said my flight had been cancelled because it was coming in from Dallas and all planes there were grounded. They were rescheduling passengers 24-hours later on the same flight, and said my alternatives were to pay for my own hotel room or sleep in the airport–no compensation. I decided to wait and see what happened. When I checked back with Spirit an hour later, they said the information they gave me was incorrect, my flight would be an hour late taking off, but it was coming in from Chicago, not Dallas.

  10. Always have a good hotel app on your phone in case you get stuck. Also, it might be worth it to pay to use the airport lounge (if you don’t have access to it anyway). They have people staffing the lounge that can re-book flights for you without having to wait on those ultra long lines. They also have a great place to relax (TV, internet, usually free drinks or food) if you anticipate waiting around for a long period of time.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Related: What To Do: Weather Delays and Flight Cancelations [...]

  2. [...] can rebook faster via phone than at the gate from whence you used to be departing. Our travel buddy Johnny Jet has an excellent post for just this sort of scenario, and he knows his stuff. In Alaska, occasional [...]

  3. [...] What To Do: Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations [...]

  4. […] Now’s a good time to bone up on your backup plans and airline customer service numbers. Johnny Jet has a good resource here. […]

  5. […] As always, keep calm, call the airlines and be flexible when the storm hits. JJ has a great tipsheet here. […]

  6. […] Johnny Jet – What to do- weather-delays-and flight cancellations […]

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