Have you ever packed your bags, headed to the airport, and then were told the worst news of your day? “We’re sorry, but your flights are cancelled for today due to severe weather conditions.” This is a nightmare to be the one in this circumstance, but it is good to remain calm and thank God that you are not in the nightmare that you could be in if your flights were operating when conditions are not ideal.
First of all, safety is the number one priority of the airlines. If conditions are not safe, you will not be able to fly. Yes, it is inconvenient, but how much more terrible would it be if you were to fly through the bad weather and have problems while you are on your flight!? Yikes! The airlines do many things to assure the safety of passengers, even de-icing the runway and the outer surface of the plane in order to keep flights running on time. If a flight is delayed due to the weather, it is usually because something severe is going on, and it is best to allow the airline to re-accommodate you on the next safest flight to get you to your destination safely.
So, what do you do if you are one of the “not-so-happy” few who have a compromised flight schedule? If you are told that your flight is cancelled or if a delay has caused you to miss a connecting flight, your first step is to go to the airport ticketing counter and wait to see what they can do for you to re-route you to your final destination. Calling your travel agent is a good idea and they can give you advice, but the first thing to do is to ask the airline to protect your flights while you are still at the airport. Make sure that they provide you with a new confirmation number for your flights, as well as a flight schedule. Your travel agent can also help you if you need to make a voluntary change. However, by the time you are at the airport, the airline is the one who needs to reschedule you in most cases since they will have access to do much more with your booking, even using carriers not on your ticket, to help you. You should NOT have to pay for anything that the airline does to protect you to your final destination. You would only pay if you decide that you want to go with something outside of what the airline is willing to do. This is called a voluntary change, and sometimes can require you to purchase a whole new ticket depending on your specific travel needs.
Yes, these delays can and do happen. In fact, just this week as I am typing this, we have had at least three families with travel delays due to the winter storms and ice, causing significant delays and schedule changes. It is best to purchase a good travel insurance policy up to the day before you travel, and also make sure you allow extra time to get to your destination if you are traveling during the winter months when storms and delays are more common. In the business of Adoption Travel, we see families who need to travel on late notice for international court dates, and sometimes families traveling do not have advance notice and can be stuck with travel delays causing them to miss very important court dates to bring their children home from all over the world. With Adoption Travel, it is very important to purchase a good travel insurance policy, which can cover you for things like flight delays and cancellations. Travel insurance is always a good idea to have for those catastrophic events that can and sometimes do happen.
Whether you are traveling to Adopt a child internationally, or just to take a trip across the ocean for leisure travel, please keep these things in mind so that you don’t find yourself caught unprepared in an unexpected weather delay. Oh, and if you are traveling internationally, always pack some extra clothes in your carry on baggage just in case you are re-routed and forced to stay overnight in an airport. It always feels much better when you have a fresh set of clothes and necessary TSA approved toiletry items to keep with you for that freshening up that you will need if you are delayed for hours.
I hope this information has been helpful and please be sure to keep safety as your number one priority during the winter travel season.