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

Turbulence1. Research
I don’t leave home without knowing the weather where I am and where I’m going—including at layover airports. I use and this handy traveler’s weather page I made that even includes the turbulence forecast.

If there’s a huge storm forcing mass cancellations 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.

Airline travel policies
Here’s a list of airline policies: Air Canada | Alaska | American AirlinesDelta | Frontier | JetBlue | Southwest | United | 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 40 major airports.

Flight Notifications2. 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.

Airlines_edited3. Load up your phone
Be sure to load your phone with your airline(s)’s toll free phone number(s) and apps just in case there is a cancellation. 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

4. 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.

TripItPro_Android_SOHP_edited5. Useful apps/websites
Like every frequent traveler, one of my favorite apps is 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, cancellations, gate changes and other flight details. In case there are mass cancellations, 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 and in case I need to drive somewhere, I load my phone with phone numbers of car rental agencies ( or use Uber for short drives. Here’s another website worth checking out with helpful travel tips. Cranky6. Get help
In case you’re in a real bind and didn’t book through a travel agent, you can call For a fee they will help you make other flight arrangements, find a hotel or transportation and assist you in resolving disputes.

getfreebird7. Get FreeBird
It’s a first-of-its-kind mobile rebooking tool that empowers travelers to skip the line and instantly book a new ticket—on any airline at no additional cost—in the event of a flight cancellation, four-hour delay or missed connection. Currently, it costs a flat fee of $19 for a one-way flight or $34 for a roundtrip flight during its launch promotion. Unfortunately, the price will apparently go up in 2017 and vary flight by flight since some are more prone to disruptions.

The cool thing about Freebird is that it makes it so simple and cheap to get on a new flight. Instead of potentially spending endless amounts of time and aggravation on the phone, and/or forking over hundreds if not thousands of dollars to rebook, it lets you rebook without speaking to someone or spending any extra money.

Freebird will instantly notify you in the event of a flight disruption, and it gives you the ability to rebook in less than 30 seconds with only three taps on your mobile device (1: tap to open your alert; 2: tap to select a new flight; and 3: tap to confirm your selection).

To get Freebird, just log on to the website after your flight is booked. The process takes less than three minutes and it can be purchased approximately up to two days prior to departure. Here’s a video on how it works.

Airhelp8. File a claim
AirHelp is a brilliant website, app and service that will help airline passengers around the world secure compensation for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights in or to and from the European Union. AirHelp is an airline’s worst nightmare because it fights for those who are unsure of their rights, or don’t have the time, confidence or expertise to file claims. It doesn’t cost a thing if they don’t get you cash but if they do, they get 25% of your reward, which seems fair to me. I used them to get money back from a BUD-LHR-YYZ flight that the airline (BA) originally told me that I wasn’t due any money for. But then I tried AirHelp a-year-and-a-half later (you can do it up to three years after the flight in question) and received a check for $900 USD (it was for me and my wife to split)!

Snow ice deicing9. Buy travel insurance
I highly recommend getting travel insurance as soon as you purchase your trip because once a storm is formed you can’t buy it. Also get it from a third party because if you buy insurance, let’s say, for a cruise from a cruise line and they go out of business, then you, my friend, are out of luck.  I recommend first pricing out rates with since they are the Kayak of travel insurance. They have 28 suppliers but the company I usually go with is Allianz Travel Insurance since they are the giant in the travel insurance business with offices in 34 countries that span six continents so chances are they will have people on the ground no matter where you are in the world. Full Disclosure: I work as an ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and receive financial compensation.and InsureMyTrip used to be one of my sponsors.

I also recommend using a credit card with travel protection benefits to help. A number of credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, and the Chase United℠ Explorer Card offer trip cancellation, luggage protection, and trip interruption insurance. To be sure that you are covered, read the fine print and/or contact the card issuer to learn more.

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 Happy travels!



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27 Comments On "What to Do: Weather Delays and Flight Cancellations"
  1. Florida RV|

    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. Rich|

    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.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good suggestion. I will add it to the list.

  3. Andy|

    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.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Doh! Thank you for pointing that out!

  4. Valerie|

    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.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I agree! And will add it in! Thanks

  5. Srin Kilaru (@srincomptr)|

    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. James Cook|

    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. colleen|

    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. colleen|

    Oops – finally found it. If you enter your flight info at “AirlineFlight Tracker” on, 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. Dave|

    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. Steve Solosky|

    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.

  11. Cristina Jones|

    I’ve checked your website and it’s really helpful. However, I think you haven’t included each and every airline phone number in the world. For instance, I couldn’t find Bulgaria Air.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Will add them!

  12. Carmen Everywhere|

    These are good tips Johnny. Just a thought, are you not worrying a bit too much? I mean should we not travel a bit more spontaneous. lol just saying. I guess we are all different in our ways

  13. UK Flyer|

    Hey Johnny… just a little update on point 7 regarding flight compensation… you can actually claim for a delayed flight, missed connection, flight cancellation and boarding denial up to 6 years previous! You don’t even have to know your flight number. If you use a no-win no-fee service as we call it in the UK then they’ll do everything and take a small percentage of the winnings. Even with the UK leaving the EU the EU261 ruling will still apply for the next 2 years (and will probably continue longer). Hope that helps!

  14. Scott R|

    Awesome tips! very useful – will be saving this blog as a favourite :)

  15. Crystal|

    Some really great advice in here, thanks for sharing. This is a problem I run into quite frequently on my travels and it can be very frustrating at times.

  16. Trupti|

    Thank you very helpful, post. Have experienced a lot of delays.

  17. Lili|

    There is a lot of good apps here that could work really well when travelling. Experiencing delay is always a pain, but if you do a good research and prepare for the journey on time, it can save you a lot of time and money. Thanks for the advice as a frequent traveler myself I found the “file a claim” part the most useful.I save it for next when needed, but hopefully it’s never going to happen. :)

  18. Jennifer Liepin|

    I can’t.

    I just can’t.

    American Airlines continually disappoints. Even famous traveler and chef, Anthony Bourdain, takes to Twitter to complain not only about the frequency of AA delays, but how unprofessionally AA handles informing customers of these delays. Many rankings of Airlines find AA at the bottom of the barrel, and yet, I booked my most recent flight from Big Island, Hawaii to Oakland, CA on American Airlines.


    The flight, with a connection in Phoenix, had been $200 cheaper than the competing Hawiian Airlines flight, also with one connection. I respect that, “You get what you pay for,” but almost every time I have booked with AA the flight has been delayed or cancelled.

    The evening of our flight, we received a phone call from AA notifying that our flight had been cancelled. No info on rebooking was provided other than a number we could call.

    This is where all the trouble started…

  19. Clarke Barrymore|

    That was a great article indeed and I could not wait sharing it with my friends but unfortunately this time I made my clam through but next time surely will use airhelp app.

  20. Eric L. Bolden|

    This a very informative article. I compare the energy of the airport with the bar. It seems to bring out the worst in people’s personality. When traveling, you are going to be faced with some adversity that most people aren’t ready to deal with. Articles like these are helpful since it provides you with some tools on what to do in those situations.

  21. Jack Brown|

    In such cases make sure you know your air passenger rights, EC Regulation 261/2004 allows air passengers to claim compensation up to 600€ in case of flight delays of over 3 hours or flight cancellation or denied boarding due to overbooking provided that reason of delay or cancellation should not be an extraordinary circumstance.

  22. Jody|

    From Southwest Airlines website: The Flight Status Notification feature will no longer be available after 2018. Any notifications set up prior will be unable to be modified once this feature is removed. But don’t worry—you can always check your flight status at


  23. Lou|

    my niece , her husband and 2 small children (under the age of 4)had their flight cancelled coming back from Orlando.Florida . due to the airline over books all their fights all weekend . the only thing that they offered was a hotel room for the night and a food voucher for the airport, and a hopeful fight the next morning . what if any kind of recourse do the have?

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