Winter Weather Impacting Your Travel? Here’s What to Do if Your Flight is Canceled | Chicago News

Ana Rosario of Houston, sitting left, tries to keep warm as she waits on her flight in Terminal A at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Houston. (Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle via AP)Ana Rosario of Houston, sitting left, tries to maintain heat as she waits on her flight in Terminal A at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Houston. (Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle through AP)

Airways can’t management the climate, however they’re nonetheless required to offer refunds for patrons whose flights are canceled. Right here’s what to learn about your rights, and what to know when cancellations begin piling up:


When airways count on unhealthy climate to create issues for flights, they typically give vacationers an opportunity to reschedule their journey by just a few days at no further price. Google your airline and “journey alerts” or related phrases to see the provides.


It’s higher to be caught at residence or in a resort than to be stranded in an airport terminal, so use the airline’s app or flight web sites to ensure that your flight continues to be on earlier than heading out to the airport. Airways often cancel flights hours and even days earlier than departure time.


When you’re already on the airport, it’s time to multi-task to search out one other flight. Get in line to talk to an airline consultant, and name or go browsing to connect with the airline’s reservations employees. It additionally helps to achieve out on X, the positioning previously often called Twitter.

Most airways will rebook you on a later flight for no further cost. That relies upon, nonetheless, on the airline having empty seats. The excellent news for vacationers this week is that they stand a greater probability of discovering house in January than in the course of the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation intervals, when passengers can wait days for an open seat.


You possibly can, however airways aren’t required to place you on one other provider’s flight. Some airways, together with the most important ones besides Southwest, say they will put you on a associate airline, however even then it’s typically hit and miss. Jeff Klee, CEO of, recommends researching alternate flights when you wait to speak to an agent.


When you now not wish to take the journey, or discovered different technique of getting the place you’re going, the airline is legally required to pay a refund, even for those who purchased a non-refundable ticket. It doesn’t matter why the flight was canceled.

“They will’t stick you with a voucher, you will get your a reimbursement,” says Kyle Potter, government editor of Thrifty Traveler. “Meaning it’s a must to cancel your whole reservation, however that might be a simple possibility for some vacationers — particularly for those who wind up reserving a flight on one other provider.”

You might be additionally entitled to a refund of any bag charges, seat upgrades or different extras that you simply didn’t get to make use of.


U.S. airways will not be required to pay compensation, even when the cancellation is their fault — similar to the shortage of a crew, a mechanical downside that grounds the airplane, or a pc outage that brings the airline to a halt. Nonetheless, the Transportation Division is engaged on a proposal to change that when the airline is at fault.

“I understand how annoyed a lot of you’re with the service you get out of your U.S. airways,” President Joe Biden stated. “That’s why our prime precedence has been to get American air vacationers a greater deal.”


There isn’t any federal requirement that airways decide up the prices of resort rooms or meals for stranded passengers. Every airline has its personal coverage.

The U.S. Division of Transportation has a website that lets shoppers see the commitments that each airline makes for refunds and masking different bills when flights are canceled or considerably delayed.


If the climate forecast is troubling, contemplate reserving a backup flight, says Potter, the Thrifty Traveler editor. He says Southwest and Delta stand out as potential backups as a result of they let prospects cancel for a full refund so long as they cancel inside 24 hours of reserving. “Others solely permit that whenever you guide not less than two and even seven days prematurely,” he says.

If you’re in a bunch and one individual belongs to a better stage of the airline’s frequent-flyer program, use the quantity related to that individual to name the airline, says Kurt Ebenhoch, a journey client advocate and former airline spokesman.

If numerous flights are canceled, airline brokers will quickly be swamped. Attempt calling your airline’s worldwide assist quantity — often out there on-line — these brokers could make adjustments in your itinerary too.

Be good. The agent you’re speaking to might be coping with numerous different annoyed vacationers too, and screaming on the agent received’t make them wish to show you how to. The cancellation isn’t their fault.

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