Flights Cancelled Due To Weather: A Comprehensive Guide

Flight cancellations can be extremely disruptive, especially if you’re travelling for a special occasion or have an important meeting to attend. If bad weather has caused your flight to be cancelled, you’re probably wondering what your options are and how to make alternate travel arrangements at the last minute.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about flights cancelled due to weather.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Airlines will typically offer free rebooking, a full refund, or travel credits if your flight is cancelled due to weather. You can also look for alternate flights yourself. Be sure to contact your hotel/car rental agency to change reservations.

Also call your credit card company, as some cards provide travel protection benefits.

Understanding Why Flights Get Cancelled for Weather

When it comes to air travel, weather conditions play a crucial role in ensuring passenger safety. Airlines prioritize the well-being of their passengers and crew members, which is why flights are sometimes cancelled or delayed due to severe weather.

Understanding why flights get cancelled for weather can help travelers better prepare for unexpected changes in their travel plans.

Airline policies for cancelling flights

Each airline has its own policy regarding flight cancellations due to weather conditions. These policies are designed to prioritize passenger safety and minimize disruption. Airlines closely monitor weather forecasts and rely on the expertise of meteorologists to determine whether it is safe to operate flights.

If weather conditions are deemed unsafe, airlines may choose to cancel or delay flights to ensure the safety of their passengers and crew.

It is important for passengers to familiarize themselves with the cancellation policies of the airline they are flying with. This information can usually be found on the airline’s website or by contacting their customer service.

By understanding the airline’s policies, passengers can be better prepared and know what to expect in case of flight cancellations due to weather.

Types of severe weather that commonly cause cancellations

Various types of severe weather can lead to flight cancellations. Some of the most common weather conditions that cause disruptions in air travel include:

  • Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms can bring strong winds, heavy rain, and lightning, creating unsafe conditions for aircraft.
  • Blizzards and snowstorms: Heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions can make runways and taxiways unsafe for takeoff and landing, leading to flight cancellations.
  • Hurricanes and tropical storms: These powerful weather systems can cause widespread disruption to air travel, with airports closing and flights being cancelled for extended periods.
  • Fog: Dense fog can reduce visibility, making it unsafe for pilots to take off or land.

These weather conditions can vary in severity and impact different regions differently. Airlines closely monitor weather patterns and work with air traffic control to make informed decisions about flight cancellations.

Regulations on tarmac delays

In order to protect passengers from prolonged tarmac delays, aviation authorities have implemented regulations that limit the amount of time passengers can spend on an aircraft while it is on the ground.

These regulations help ensure the well-being and comfort of passengers during weather-related delays.

In the United States, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has established the “tarmac delay rule,” which states that airlines must provide passengers with the option to deplane after three hours of tarmac delay for domestic flights and four hours for international flights.

Exceptions are made for safety, security, and air traffic control reasons.

Passengers should familiarize themselves with these regulations and understand their rights in case of tarmac delays. By knowing their rights, passengers can make informed decisions and communicate effectively with airline staff during weather-related delays.

Your Options When Flights Are Cancelled Due to Weather

When your flight gets cancelled due to bad weather, it can be frustrating and stressful. However, there are several options available to you to help minimize the inconvenience. Understanding these options can make a big difference in how smoothly you can navigate through the situation.

Here are some of the most common options:

Getting rebooked by the airline

If your flight is cancelled due to weather conditions, the first thing you should do is contact the airline. Most airlines have policies in place to accommodate passengers affected by weather-related cancellations. They will typically rebook you on the next available flight to your destination.

Be prepared for the possibility of delays or longer layovers, as the airline may have limited options available.

Requesting a full refund

In some cases, you may choose to request a full refund instead of being rebooked on another flight. This option is especially relevant if the cancellation significantly impacts your travel plans and you are no longer able to proceed with your trip.

Airlines may have different refund policies, so it’s important to check the specific terms and conditions of your ticket.

Accepting travel credits for future flights

Instead of a refund, some airlines may offer you travel credits that can be used towards future flights. Travel credits can be a great option if you still plan on flying with the same airline in the future.

It allows you to use the value of your cancelled flight towards a new booking, potentially saving you money in the long run. Keep in mind that these credits may have an expiration date, so be sure to check the terms and conditions.

Booking a new flight yourself

If the airline’s options don’t suit your needs or if you prefer more control over your travel arrangements, you can consider booking a new flight yourself. This option allows you to choose an alternative airline, departure time, or even a different airport if it’s more convenient for you.

However, keep in mind that you may not be eligible for a refund or reimbursement for the original cancelled flight.

Renting a car or taking a train/bus

In some cases, it may be more practical to explore alternative modes of transportation. Renting a car or taking a train/bus can be a viable option if your destination is within a reasonable driving or commuting distance.

This option may take longer than flying, but it can also provide you with more flexibility and potentially save you money. Consider the cost, time, and convenience factors before making a decision.

Remember, weather-related flight cancellations are beyond anyone’s control, including the airlines. It’s important to stay calm, be flexible, and explore all available options to find the best solution for your specific situation.

Tips for Making Alternate Travel Arrangements

When flights are cancelled due to weather conditions, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. However, there are several steps you can take to make alternate travel arrangements and minimize the impact on your trip. Here are some helpful tips:

Changing hotel and rental car reservations

If your flight gets cancelled, it’s important to contact your hotel and rental car company to inform them of the situation. Most hotels and car rental companies have flexible cancellation policies, especially in cases of inclement weather.

They may be able to modify your reservation or offer a refund. It’s always a good idea to review the terms and conditions of your bookings beforehand, so you know what options are available to you.

Notifying people you were travelling to see

If you were travelling to visit someone or attend an event, it’s important to notify the relevant parties about the cancellation. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or business contact, let them know as soon as possible that your plans have changed.

This will not only help them make any necessary adjustments but also ensure that they are aware of the situation and can offer any assistance or support if needed.

Using travel insurance and credit card benefits

If you purchased travel insurance or used a credit card that offers travel benefits, now is the time to take advantage of those perks. Travel insurance often covers trip cancellations due to weather-related issues, and credit cards may provide reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of flight cancellations.

Check the terms and conditions of your policy or contact your credit card provider to understand what benefits you may be eligible for.

Asking airlines to provide accommodations and meals

In some cases, airlines may be responsible for providing accommodations and meals for passengers whose flights have been cancelled due to weather. This typically applies to extended delays or overnight stays.

It’s important to check with your airline to see if they offer this service and what the requirements are to qualify. Keep in mind that availability may be limited, so it’s best to inquire as soon as possible.

Remember, when dealing with flight cancellations, it’s important to stay calm and be proactive in finding alternate travel arrangements. By following these tips, you can navigate the situation more smoothly and minimize any inconvenience caused by the weather.

Minimizing Chances of Future Weather Delays

Booking flights with sufficient layover time

One way to minimize the chances of weather delays affecting your flights is to book flights with sufficient layover time. This allows for flexibility in case of unexpected delays. It’s recommended to have at least a two-hour layover for domestic flights and a three-hour layover for international flights.

This extra time gives you a buffer in case your initial flight is delayed due to weather conditions.

Choosing airlines with generous rebooking policies

When it comes to weather-related flight cancellations, not all airlines have the same rebooking policies. Some airlines are more lenient and offer generous rebooking options in case of weather disruptions.

It’s a good idea to research and choose airlines that have a reputation for accommodating passengers affected by weather delays. These airlines often provide options for rebooking onto the next available flight without additional fees or penalties.

Using flight tracking tools before heading to the airport

Prior to heading to the airport, it’s advisable to use flight tracking tools to stay updated on any potential weather-related delays. There are various websites and mobile applications that provide real-time flight status information, including weather conditions at departure and arrival airports.

By staying informed about any changes or delays, you can better plan your travel and make necessary adjustments if needed.

Some popular flight tracking tools include:

Avoiding connections in regions prone to storms

If possible, it’s wise to avoid booking flights with connections in regions that are prone to severe weather conditions. For example, if you are traveling during hurricane season, it’s best to avoid connections in coastal areas known for frequent hurricanes.

By choosing alternative routes or airlines that don’t have connections in high-risk regions, you can reduce the likelihood of weather-related delays affecting your travel plans.

Remember to check weather forecasts for your planned routes and destinations before making any bookings.

By following these tips, you can minimize the chances of future weather delays and ensure a smoother travel experience. Remember, weather conditions are unpredictable, and sometimes delays are unavoidable.

However, by taking proactive measures, you can increase your chances of reaching your destination on time.


When weather causes flight cancellations, it can quickly turn travel plans upside down. By understanding airline policies, being flexible, and leveraging resources like travel insurance, you can minimize hassles and get back on track.

With the tips in this guide, you’ll be prepared to handle cancellations smoothly so weather delays don’t ruin your trip.

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