Everyone knows the adage that even the best made plans can go awry, but nowhere is this more applicable than when it comes to winter travel. You spent months or even years planning that anniversary cruise, packed eagerly for it and kept a wary eye on the weather system headed your way. Sure enough, on the big departure your airport is socked in with close to a foot of snow and the notification board is full of cancelled and delayed flights. The airline can provide you with a flight tomorrow evening, but by then it will be too late as the cruise ship will already have departed. What do you do?
While that’s more of an extreme example, thousands of travelers experience delays every winter due to inclement weather. Frequently, travelers shrug off the need for trip protection, not wanting to spend additional money. Buying travel insurance for your winter travels is a good investment because disastrous weather delays are more common at this time of the year. Scenarios also include not being able to come home from your dream vacation delays at your home airport.
When planning your winter trip, it pays to be proactive in your choices. Select larger airlines with more flights because you will have a better chance of getting out to your destination with minimal delays. Also avoid connections, if possible. That may be unfeasible if your home airport is in a smaller market, yet it helps to plan accordingly.
Your first course of action in any winter travel delay scenario is to take change vouchers offered by the airline cancelling the flight. Many airlines are proactive when weather threatens to cancel flights and will offer vouches before the event occurs. Vouchers are a no-cost way to reschedule or even cancel your entire trip at no cost to you.
Another way to deal with winter travel delays is to make sure you schedule fights on airlines where you are a member of a frequent flyer program. Some programs are more lenient about waving change fees when bad weather threatens, while others will offer access to their airport lounges where you can wait out storms in greater comfort.
Even if your change fee is waived, you’ll still have to pay for accommodations if weather prevents you from returning home. Airlines are not required to pay for lodging, but travel insurance can do that and pay for any other legs of your trip you may miss.