What Does “Inclement Weather” Mean for Your Flight (& Your Wallet)?
Bad weather is a traveller’s enemy. From snowstorms to high wind to volcanic eruptions (a la Iceland’s Grimvotn) – they all mean delays and cancellations. But what about missed connections? We’re always able to get through eventually, but who’s responsible for what when we get there too late for our next flight?
Unsurprisingly, all airlines include a provision against so-called “Acts of God” or problems that arise that they have utterly no control of, like the weather. Essentially, this indicates that the airline has zero responsibility to flyers who miss connections due to weather. That being said, every airline is different and often even the representatives within a given airline will often offer up different responses.
Here’s what we know: typically, if you get booted from a subsequent flight due to nasty weather, most airlines will allow you to rebook a later flight without having to pay the typical rebooking fee. We say most because not all will and, more often than not, you do have to engage a bit of sweet-talking. Sometimes you can even get them to waive the cost difference between tickets – a feat that is much less daunting if you have a paper ticket over an e-ticket. If you cannot get beyond that, you’re unlikely to get all that much love. Hotel stays and food vouchers aren’t offered up willingly unless the delays are unusually long.
If the airline is unwilling to provide you any re-accomodation, you’re booking agent may be able to help. While they typically have similar conditions in their sales contracts that exempt them from fault, their desire to do business again with you may prompt them to eliminate the rebooking fee or offer a discount on a rebooked ticket. Our Guru’s, specifically, are available 24/7 and always right in front of their computer – which means you won’t need to wait as long to rebook. What’s more, we can also often bank your ticket and issue you a new one on a competitive airline in order to get you out faster.
Guru Tip: Go prepared. Always schedule flights so that you have a minimum of one hour in between connections. We suggest checking into some forums to see what other travelers have experienced and what they recommend for connection times at certain airports or for certain routes – or simply ask your Guru.
Beyond that, be familiar with later offerings of your same flight. If you have some idea of the flights you could potentially try and jump on should you miss your connection, you’ll be able to make decisions more quickly and spend less time trying to pull information from sales representatives.
Finally, ask and ye shall receive. Ask for a free change, ask for a flight on another airline (even one that’s not a partner), ask for hotel and food vouchers, ask for an upgraded seat on the next flight, and you just may get it! One client our Guru’s had helped use his miles was stuck due to weather and could not get on his second outbound leg, so by asking, he got a free flight home and a free round-trip to use later – with no fees! You just have to ask, and know its possible.