Check flight delays, that is what I tell my clients when they book an all inclusive resort with me and the winter season starts. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but we’re in the season of bad winter weather and flight delays. Even if you’re living in a warm weather area and departing from an airport not affected by winter weather, you can still encounter flight delays due to airplane delays from other connecting cities.Also entering the Christmas season and heavy travel Spring break means full flights with no room for accommodating extra passengers. But for many of us who are leaving our winter weather in search of some sunshine and heat, with every flight we risk being delayed in an airport longer than we expected.
After you check flight delays, here’s a few tips for dealing with the winter weather delays.
12 Travel Expert Tips To Deal With Winter Weather Flight Delays
- Be Weather Prepared!
Make the Weather Channel your best friend! Keep an eye on flights using the weather channel. Here’s a link to their page showing flight delays.
This is a really good one to watch any time of year but especially in winter: http://www.weather.com/maps/activity/travel/index_large.html
And this link to airport delay map: http://www.intellicast.com/Travel/Flying/Default.aspx
- Online Check - It's all in the Details:
When you do online check in (within 24 hours of your departure) check and make sure that your reservation has your preferred e-mail address and cell phone number. I say preferred because if you have a cell phone number on the reservation that you are not using in the airport you can’t get updates from the airline.
- If you’re a frequent flyer with your airline make sure your profile is up to date.
I’ve already had texts rescheduling my flight by the time I got off the airplane so I beat the ticket counter rush by having up-to-date information in my flight record.
- Flight is Delayed - Stay Calm and Listen!
First, stay calm and respectful. Why? Because you’re at the mercy of the airline, like it or not. The gate agents don’t like delays any more than you do and you will not get farther with them by being disrespectful.
Immediately get inline to rebook at the gate if possible. If not, get to the airline’s customer service desk and call the airline ASAP. Airlines are usually very quick about re-routing people on next available flights.
- Again – you’re at the mercy of the airline so be willing to work with them.
My top recommendation is to sit tight by your gate and listen closely to what’s going on. I say this because having been through a lot of flight delays throughout the years, sometimes I see the frustration play out with people and they get up and leave to go to a restaurant or just for a walk while some of us sit there and find out valuable details about what the airline is planning to do or valuable updates on arrival times. I’ve been able to get re-routed because I got in line early seeing what looked like a problem brewing. I’ve been able to get an overnight accommodation and “the next” flight out because I was patient and listened carefully.
- Compensation - Options:
If it’s a mechanical issue or flight crew staffing problems that caused a delay, the airline may compensate you with an amount depending on the extent of the delay.
If it’s a weather related delay, the airline is not required to compensate you so if they do, be very thankful.
Stay by the gate as much as possible (unless you’re told to leave and come back later), grab a book, upload a movie and make the best of a bad situation.
If you have trip insurance, check your documents to see if you will be covered (time delay requirements).
- Keep ALL Documents!
One lesson I have learned the hard way is to keep all of your travel documents until you arrive home – that includes boarding passes and luggage tags even for flights that are completed. You’ll be thankful if you ever have to account for all flight details to insurance or the airline.
- A Cautionary Note About Deviating from Your Original Flight Plan
Even at the best of times and almost certain in busy travel times – if you have checked luggage and you change carriers in the process of being re-routed be prepared to arrive without luggage. This is when it is extremely important to keep all flight information. If you are physically moving from one airline to another ask both airlines what the procedure is at your arrival point if your luggage doesn’t arrive.
- Trip Insurance. Again, I must recommend trip insurance and if you have a trip delay of typically 5 hours or more, trip insurance will take affect and offer you some compensation – but only if you purchased it prior to travel!!!
- Always keep your receipts.
- Always carry a print off of your insurance policy with you for reference before you start spending.
- Above all, remain calm and don’t let a delay ruin your entire vacation or holiday. It's just not worth it!