What to Do if your Flight is Delayed or Canceled Due to Weather

Discover what steps you should take if your flight faces delays or cancellations due to extreme weather.

Flight delay or cancellation can happen anytime due to extraordinary weather conditions. Click on the link below to understand your rights and to claim compensation for flight delays or cancellations due to unexpected weather conditions.

Air travel has revolutionized the way we explore the world, offering unparalleled speed and convenience. However, it is not without its challenges. One of the most frustrating and unpredictable aspects of air travel is when flights are delayed or canceled due to adverse weather conditions.

Whether it’s a sudden storm, heavy snowfall, or an impenetrable blanket of fog, weather-related disruptions can leave travelers feeling stranded and uncertain about what steps to take next.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps to take when your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather.

By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to tackle these challenges head-on and ensure a smoother travel experience, no matter what weather surprises await you.

What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled Due to Weather

Assess the Situation: Is It Weather-Related?

The first step when your flight encounters a delay or cancellation is to determine whether it is indeed caused by bad weather.

This may seem obvious, but sometimes airlines may cite weather as a reason to avoid taking responsibility for their own operational issues.

Look for announcements from the airline, check weather reports for your departure and arrival airports, and consult airline staff for accurate information.

Remember, having a clear understanding of the situation will help you navigate the next steps more effectively.

Stay Connected: Utilize Technology and Airline Communication Channels

In an age dominated by technology, it’s crucial to make the most of the tools at your disposal. Keep your smartphone or electronic device handy and ensure you have access to the internet.

Check the airline’s website, mobile app, or social media channels for real-time updates on your flight status. Sign up for text or email alerts provided by the airline to receive immediate notifications about changes in your itinerary.

Staying connected will help you stay informed and potentially save you from unnecessary trips to the airport.

Act Promptly: Take Immediate Action

Time is of the essence when dealing with flight disruptions. As soon as you receive confirmation of a delay or cancellation, it’s vital to take immediate action. Procrastination can lead to limited options and increased stress.

Here are the essential steps to follow:

  1. Contact the airline: Reach out to the airline’s customer service via phone or their dedicated helpline to inquire about alternative options. Be prepared for long wait times due to increased call volumes during weather-related disruptions.
  2. Explore self-service options: Check if the airline offers self-service kiosks or online tools that allow you to manage your booking, rebook flights, or request refunds. These options can save you time and provide more flexibility in finding a suitable solution.
  3. Consider nearby airports: In case your flight is canceled, explore the possibility of rerouting through nearby airports. Sometimes, airlines may offer alternative flights from alternative locations that can get you closer to your destination.
  4. Consult travel insurance: If you have travel insurance, review the policy to determine if you are eligible for compensation or assistance in such situations. Contact your insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage and the procedures for filing a claim.

Understanding Your Rights

When your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather, it’s important to be aware of your rights as a passenger. While regulations may vary by country, there are common guidelines that can provide you with some protection.

Here’s what you should know:

  1. EU Regulation 261/2004: If you are departing from an EU airport or traveling with an EU-based airline, you may be entitled to certain rights and compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004. It covers flight delays, cancellations, and denied boarding caused by various reasons, including weather conditions. Familiarize yourself with these rights and reach out to the airline to claim the compensation you may be eligible for.
  2. Airline policies: Different airlines have their own policies regarding weather-related disruptions. Check the airline’s website or contact their customer service to understand their specific guidelines on offering accommodation, meals, and compensation during delays or cancellations. Knowing your rights will empower you to advocate for fair treatment.
  3. Document everything: Keep a record of all communication with the airline, including names, dates, and times. Take note of any promises or agreements made by the airline representatives. These records will be valuable in case you need to escalate the matter or file a complaint later on.
  4. Accommodation and meals: In the event of a lengthy delay or an overnight stay, the airline may provide you with accommodation and meal vouchers. Inquire about these options and follow the instructions provided by the airline. If the airline does not offer assistance, you may need to arrange accommodation on your own and keep the receipts for possible reimbursement or insurance claims.
  5. Stay calm and polite: Dealing with flight disruptions can be frustrating, but it’s important to remain calm and maintain a polite demeanor when interacting with airline staff. Being rude or aggressive will not improve the situation and may hinder your chances of receiving assistance or cooperation.
  6. Be flexible and proactive: While the airline is responsible for providing alternatives, being proactive and flexible can help expedite the process. Propose reasonable alternatives, such as different departure dates or nearby airports, and discuss them with the airline representatives. By demonstrating your willingness to cooperate, you may increase your chances of finding a suitable solution more quickly.

Extraordinary Circumstances Related to Extreme Weather

Extraordinary circumstances related to weather refer to severe or extreme weather conditions that are beyond the control of airlines or airport authorities.

These conditions can have a significant impact on flight operations and may result in delays, cancellations, or diversions. Some examples of extraordinary weather-related circumstances include:

  1. Severe storms: Thunderstorms, hurricanes, or tornadoes that pose a threat to the safety of passengers and crew. These weather events can lead to airport closures or restrictions on flight operations.
  2. Heavy snowfall: Significant snowfall or blizzards that make it unsafe for aircraft to take off, land, or operate on the ground. Snow accumulation on runways and limited visibility can cause delays and cancellations.
  3. Fog and low visibility: Dense fog, mist, or haze that reduces visibility below safe operating limits. Airlines may delay or cancel flights if the visibility is inadequate for takeoff, landing, or taxiing on the runway.
  4. Freezing conditions: Extremely low temperatures or icy conditions that impact aircraft performance and safety. Ice buildup on the aircraft’s surfaces, runways, or taxiways can require de-icing procedures and delay flights.
  5. Volcanic eruptions: Volcanic ash clouds pose a significant risk to aircraft engines, and flying through them can result in engine damage or failure. When volcanic ash is present in the airspace, flights may be rerouted or canceled.
  6. Air quality issues: Poor air quality caused by factors such as wildfires, volcanic emissions, or industrial pollution can affect visibility and impact flight operations. Airlines may modify routes or cancel flights to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.

It’s important to note that these extraordinary circumstances are considered beyond the control of airlines and are typically excluded from compensation claims under regulations such as EU Regulation 261/2004. However, airlines are still responsible for providing care and assistance to passengers, such as accommodation, meals, and rebooking options, to the best of their abilities during such weather-related disruptions.

Am I Eligible for Compensation for Flight Delays or Cancellations due to Extreme Weather

In certain cases, you may be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed due to bad weather. However, it depends on various factors, including the airline you are flying with, the specific circumstances of the delay, and the regulations in place in the country or region where your flight departed from or arrived.

Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers departing from an EU airport or traveling with an EU-based airline may be eligible for compensation in certain situations. However, weather-related delays are generally considered extraordinary circumstances, which are events beyond the control of the airline and not subject to compensation claims. Extraordinary circumstances can include severe weather conditions, such as storms, heavy snowfall, or dense fog, that pose a risk to flight operations and passenger safety.

It’s important to note that while compensation may not be available for weather-related delays, airlines are still obligated to provide assistance and care to passengers during these disruptions. This includes offering meals, accommodation (if necessary), and rebooking options to minimize the inconvenience caused by the delay.

To understand your rights and potential compensation eligibility in the case of a weather-related delay, it is advisable to review the specific regulations applicable to your situation and consult the airline directly. They can provide you with information regarding their policies, the extent of their responsibilities, and any available compensation options.

It’s worth noting that regulations and policies can vary between airlines and jurisdictions. Therefore, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your ticket, the airline’s policy on weather-related disruptions, and any applicable local laws to have a clearer understanding of what compensation options may be available to you.

Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

Which is the best company to claim flight delay compensation?

ClaimFlights is the best flight delay claim company when it comes to the payout after their 25% service fee. Through ClaimFlights, you could get 75% of the receivable compensation.

The following table gives you a direct comparison of flight delay compensation claim companies.

Your payout* (as Flight Delay Compensation)

for less than 1500 km for 1501 to 3500 km for more than 3500 km
ClaimFlights 187.50 € 300 € 450 €
Flightright 125.75 € 201.20 € 301.80 €
AirHelp 125 € 200 € 300 €
ClaimCompass 125 € 200 € 300 €
SkyRefund 125 € 200 € 300 €

* Source: Price comparison of flight delay claim companies, as of 8th August 2023.

Key Pointers for Weather Flight Delays or Cancellations

If you find yourself stranded at the airport due to a weather-related flight delay or cancellation, here are some steps you can take:

  • Stay calm and approach the airline’s customer service desk to seek assistance.
  • Inquire about accommodation options and meal vouchers provided by the airline.
  • If necessary, consider booking a hotel nearby and keep the receipts for possible reimbursement or insurance claims.
  • Stay connected with the airline through their website, app, or helpline for updates on your flight status and rebooking options.
  • If you have travel insurance, contact your insurance provider to understand if they can offer any assistance or coverage for additional expenses.

Conclusion

Weather-related flight delays and cancellations can be frustrating, but with the right approach and knowledge, you can navigate these situations more effectively.

Remember to assess the situation, stay connected through technology, take prompt action, and be aware of your rights as a passenger.

By being proactive, flexible, and understanding, you can increase your chances of finding suitable alternatives and minimizing the impact of weather-related disruptions on your travel plans.

While some aspects of weather-related flight disruptions are beyond your control, taking the necessary steps outlined in this guide can help you make the best of a challenging situation.

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Was your flight delayed? You may be eligible for compensation

Has your flight been delayed for more than 3 hours or even canceled? Don't worry, you may be eligible for compensation up to 600€ under the EU Regulation 261/2004.

Check if You're Eligible

We offer "No Win - No Fee" Services, so claiming is Risk-Free!

We help in many languages – ClaimFlights International Websites