Tips for Flying Smart in the Winter

Don't Get Stranded This Winter Flying Season

Author: The Traveling Professor/Tuesday, January 22, 2019/Categories: Travel Tips

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Imagine you are on a flight returning home and you flight gets cancelled.  Sometimes an airline will book you immediately on an alternate flight, sometimes you might not get out for days.  Sometimes an airline might even say "tough luck" you are on your own? What do you do?  

Here are some tips to minimize the issues surrounding a flight that is cancelled:

Get Travel Insurance:  Anyone who travels these days without having free travel insurance is crazy.  More and more credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offer free travel insurance that includes flight cancellation and delay insurance.  Every insurance policy is different, but usually if a flight is delayed for over 6 hours or overnight due to extreme weather, meals and lodging in part or in whole can be covered by travel insurance.  Remember to save all printed documentation (insurance companies don't take your word for it) when making an insurance claim. 

Don't Depend on the Airline to Help: The days of airlines providing meals and lodging in case a flight is cancelled are long gone. If it does happen, it is a rarity. Flyers are now pretty much on their own in case of a cancellation, especially due to weather. Be proactive and book your hotel and re-book your flight.  Don't wait for the airline to do it.

When a Flight is Cancelled, Your First Phone Call is to a Hotel:  Remember, there are going to be hundreds of stranded travelers looking for lodging.  It's like a game of musical chairs with more travelers looking for a place to stay than there are rooms.  Book that room before the music stops playing.

When a Flight is Cancelled, Your Second Call is to the Airline:  Don't wait for them to re-book you.  If you have travel insurance, you may even be able to re-book yourself on an alternate airline. 

Be Aware and Prepared:  If there is a chance a flight might be cancelled, check on the status of that flight regularly.  Have the phone numbers ready of 3-4 hotels that might be needed in case of a cancellation.

Buy Tickets from the Airline Only:  Don't use Orbitz, Expedia or other services to purchase airline tickets.  It only adds another layer of bureaucracy in getting refunds or in re-booking a flight. 

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