Winter is upon us, and in fact it seems like it's arrived early. That means flight delays and cancelations. Here are some tips to make your air travel easier when the flurries start flying:
1. If you must connect, do so via a warmer weather airport such as Phoenix or Dallas rather than Newark or Chicago. And if you've already booked, be proactive and see if you can change your connection through an airport less likely to get snowed in. Get ahead of the storm.
2. If your flight is severely delayed and no longer want to make the trip, or your flight has been canceled, you can ask for a full refund. Airlines often allow you to change your flight to when the weather clears, though if you're so delayed that there’s no point going, get a full refund instead.
3. Arrive at the airport super early. If your flight is affected, there’s a better chance you might get on an earlier flight or a different connection (if connecting).
4. Track your flight on Flightaware.com. I find their flight tracking and alerts more reliable than the airlines’ data.
5. Severe weather events are the best times to pay for a one-day airline lounge pass. It’s more pleasant to wait, and the rebooking lines are shorter than in the terminals.
6. If you didn’t buy travel insurance, check your credit card. People don’t realize it, but many credit cards, especially those issued by Chase and Citi, offer free compensation for weather delays and cancellations—they will cover hotel expenses up to the maximum allowed and any non-refundable hotel and other reservations. More on that here.
7. Although the first flights of the day mean you have to wake up super early, and they tend to operate with fewer delays, there's no guarantee that early flights won't be snowed in as often as later ones.
8. Sometimes it pays to combine transport modes. If Boston or New York are snowed in and Washington isn't, maybe take Amtrak south and leave from there.