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Avanti Travel Insurance blog

3 Feb

What To Do If A Winter Storm Delays Your Holiday

Winter snow stormDon’t Let The Weather Put A Dampener On Your Trip

Extreme weather events often cause widespread travel disruption and can spell disaster for your winter getaway. Follow our top tips to stay ahead of the crowd and minimise the upset a delayed holiday can cause.

With winter come storms, and this can spell trouble for your travel plans. As we recently saw with the arrival of Storm Jonas on the East Coast of America, winter storms can cause widespread travel disruption, grounding planes and closing airports. So what should you do if your holiday looks set to be delayed or cancelled due to extreme weather?

Be The First To Know

The sooner you know that your flight has been cancelled, the sooner you can take action. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts in the run up to your flight, and sign up to flight alerts to stay up to date with the most recent developments. Your airline’s Twitter feed can also be a useful source of information.

In the case of cancellation due to bad weather, airlines will sometimes offer a waiver on ticket-change fees – and the sooner you know this, the quicker you can book your seat on an alternate flight.

Try All Options

When a flight gets cancelled or delayed, the airline’s customer service department quickly gets inundated with queries. Cut down on your wait time by trying several different options at once. As well as getting in line to speak to an airline representative, you should also fire up your laptop or tablet to check if you’ve automatically been rebooked and to look into alternative options, as well as getting on the phone to the airline’s customer service line.

The sooner you can speak to somebody, the more chance you have of getting a satisfactory conclusion. To avoid waiting for hours on hold, try phoning the customer service line for one of the airline’s other English speaking destinations – a sneaky yet effective trick!

Use Technology To Stay Informed

When it comes to cancelled or delayed flights, mobile technology can help to make the situation a little less stressful. Weather-related apps such as AccuWeather enable you to keep an eye on the latest forecasts, while apps such as FlightStats are a great way of tracking the status of your flight and getting information on specific airports, such as the local weather and expected delays. If you are in for a bit of a wait, try using apps such as GateGuru to find out what amenities are nearby, or LoungeBuddy to locate the nearest airport lounge.

Wait In Style

Speaking of airport lounges, if your flight is delayed why not wait it out in style? Many airports now offer club lounges which you can access for a fee. Facilities can vary, but they generally include refreshments, snacks, Wi-Fi, televisions and comfortable seating – some even provide showers and sleeping areas. Entrance fees tend to range from around £15 and £35, but if you’re expecting a long wait it could be money well spent.

If you choose a lounge that is operated by your airline, there will also be staff on hand to provide information or help to book a new flight – they will also have the advantage of being less busy than their colleagues at the gate.

Know Your Rights

In the event of a long delay or cancellation, it’s important to know your rights and whether you’re entitled to any kind of refund or compensation. Most travel insurance policies will cover you in the event of a delay due to bad weather, but not all policies will cover you in the event of a cancellation – so it’s important to check the policy details. However, regardless of your insurance, your first port of call should be the airline.

Most airlines will offer to rebook you on a different flight in the first instance, but if you do not want to take this you are entitled to a full refund – even on so-called ‘non-refundable’ tickets.

Having a winter storm delay or cancelling your holiday can be a stressful experience and really put a dampener on your trip. However, by acting quickly and staying informed you can help minimise the upset and ensure that, when the storm eventually clears, you’re ready to enjoy your holiday.