The holidays seem like everyone's favorite time to travel. At the end of the year, it's nice to get away for a little bit, whether it's to visit family at home or go somewhere totally new. Unfortunately, traveling at this time of year can present some problems when it comes to the weather. Since we can't control the weather, it's important to be prepared and to know what happens if your flight is canceled due to weather.
Although each airline's policies will vary, some general rules apply no matter who you're flying with. According to TripSavvy, should your flight be canceled due to weather, it is unlikely that you will receive any sort of outright compensation for your troubles. This is because weather delays are considered an "Act of God," or out of anyone's control. This sounds annoying, but it does make sense. If inclement weather is happening, chances are you're not the only one being affected; it would be difficult for any airline to offer compensation to every single inconvenienced passenger. USA Today confirms that the most that you are entitled to if your flight is canceled due to weather is a refund or the next available seat to your destination.
However, TripSavvy notes that some airlines will offer flexible changes to tickets, a full ticket change, a ticket change without penalties, and full and/or partial refunds. It's best to check with your specific airline to see what options will be available to you, especially if snow, rain, or extra chilly temperatures are in the forecast.
Airlines also offer a number of other compensation options for delays or cancellations that are within their control, such as a crew shortage. These may be helpful to you if you find yourself in this situation.
If your flight is delayed for an extended period of time, SmarterTravel says that a common practice is compensation in the form of meal vouchers and hotel accommodations, particularly if your delay extends beyond four hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. However, this is not always the case, and typically does not apply if you live in the city from which you are departing.
If you are a connecting passenger, you can talk with a gate agent to see what options are available to you. Not every airline does this, but TripSavvy reports that some will prioritize connecting passengers, particularly if a cancellation or delay is due to unforeseen circumstances (sometimes including weather).
If your flight is delayed, your airline is going to be flooded with calls from passengers trying to figure out what to do. You should still attempt to reach someone at the airline, either over the phone or in person, but you can also take matters into your own hands. Forbes recommends searching your airline's app or website, or Google Flights.
While cancellations and delays are hectic for passengers, it's important to remember that they're hectic for everyone involved, including gate agents, customer representatives, and crew members. Although it can be difficult to keep your cool when a wrench is thrown in your plans, being kind to airline employees will always be more beneficial than having an attitude or placing blame on them. If you are nice, chances are they will be more willing to help you get to your destination in a timely fashion.
If you suspect that you may face delays or cancellations during your travels, there are a number of things you can do to prepare. Read up on your airline's policies so that you know your rights and what you are entitled to. Additionally, check the weather for both your departure location and your final destination, as well as any places where you may be connecting. The most important thing to remember is that no matter how much you prepare, sometimes these things are out of your control, but eventually everything will work out.
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