When Your Flight Is Canceled Bookmark and Share


Canceled flights are a headache for everyone. Believe me, the airlines don’t like to cancel. It starts a whole domino effect. Not just for your flight, but for flights at down line airports all through the day. Planes end up in the wrong places with crews that can’t fly them because of time regulations.

Weather is the number one cause of flight cancelations. The reason may be obvious like when there is blizzard raging outside and nothing is moving.

Sometimes you look outside, and it’s sunny and calm. Why cancel for weather when it looks so good outside? Consider for a moment. The weather might be occurring somewhere else. Maybe there are severe thunderstorms on the East Coast, and that’s where the flight is coming from. Maybe the flight is coming from sunny Florida, but it’s coming THOUGH a hub in the middle of one of those storms. Maybe there is a sandstorm in the Sahara or a typhoon in Japan. Weather anywhere in the world can affect your flight if it is a long haul flight.

Another reason flights may be cancelled is mechanical problems. If this is the case, you want them to cancel, but it’s hard not to feel frustrated anyway.

Or a flight could be canceled because there have been delays, and now the crew has been waiting for too long. There are rules about when they can fly and when they can’t.

If your flight is canceled, the second you hear that your plane is not going anywhere, call the airline’s toll-free number. (It’s a smart idea to have it programmed in your cell phone.) Get into the line at the counter, especially if it’s fairly short, but make that call while you’re standing in line. There’s a good possibility you’ll get rebooked more quickly on the phone than at the counter where a couple of overwhelmed airline employees are being swarmed by a plane full of disgruntled fliers.

Ask what your options are. Actually, it pays to have an idea of alternatives before you get to the airport. True, most times you won’t need to use the alternatives, but with canceled flights, the sooner you can act on those alternatives, the more apt you are to get on your way while everyone else is still looking them up.

Most airlines will rebook you, with no fees or penalties, on the next flight on which space is available. It may not be the very next flight… the next flight on which space is available. During holiday periods or really bad weather situations, this could be more than just hours. If you seen the news the last few years, you know it can even be days!

If the wait seems too long, ask the agent if there might be a seat on another airline. Although they are competitors, most carriers will transfer your ticket to another airline to keep you happy. You’ll have the most luck if the flight is on a partner airline.

If these things don’t work, suggest solving your flight problem by connecting through another city or going to another airport. If all, or many flights are being canceled, these suggestions will not work. If all the airlines are canceling flights, as they must in bad weather, ….patience is the only thing that will work.



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