Imagine you arrive at the airport, three hours before your flight with your bags packed and ready to go …. you look at the departure screen only to see the word ‘Delayed’ or worse ‘Cancelled’.
This is a nightmare scenario some of us will have already encountered and the rest of us don’t want to ever encounter.
There are many reasons, high winds, rain, sleet or snow, every year brings its batch of delays that can horribly disrupt your travel plans.
What can we do? – Well quite a lot actually.
When you are planning your holiday, check out the prevailing weather for the time of the year at your destination and nearer the time of departure check the local weather conditions both at home and your destination.
When you learn of weather delays, it’s time to call your airline to inquire of potential delays on your flight.
Bear in mind that sometimes the weather at your departure city and your destination can be fantastic, but your connecting city is closed then call ahead to see if you can reroute your connection flight through airports with no delays.
Another tip is to book morning flights which have been shown to be less likely to be delayed or canceled than evening flights. The logistical effects of heavy weather accumulate as the day goes on and more and more flights are delayed or canceled.
If you anticipate any problems, get to a telephone as quickly as possible to make provisional hotel reservations. Even better — if you anticipate a layover in a connecting city further along on your itinerary, make a reservation immediately. If you wait until an entire airport’s worth of stranded travelers are also scrambling to make reservations, chances are good that airport hotels will be sold out.
Airlines typically update flight status information on a “just in time” basis – meaning they don’t change official status until it’s absolutely certain that there will be a delay. So beware, just because they told you your plane is on time at 2 p.m. doesn’t mean it will be 30 minutes later.
If you anticipate a delay, check departure screens for your flight. If there is a delay, look for an airline representative or call the airline immediately and ask for instructions before you head to check-in.
When at the airport, gate agents may make important announcements not only concerning flight status, but also alternate flight options, lodging offers and more. Make sure you or someone in your traveling party stays near your gate to hear any important announcements.
Finally make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance. Many travel insurance policies do not cover so-called “acts of God” such as weather disasters so check carefully with your provider before you buy.