Old man winter has arrived in the Northeast United States with a vengeance in the name of Jonas. As a result many flights and other modes of transportation are affected. So what should I do if my flight is cancelled due to winter storm Jonas? Well, let me tell you.
I’ve included some links below to the airlines, buses and trains serving the Northeast, so scroll down to see them.
There’s not much you can do if you flight is cancelled during your trip, but contact an airline representative either at the airport or on the phone. You can also access your reservation online and most times the airline would have already re-booked you on another flight if one is available. In bad weather though, that’s usually not the case.
Now I’ll tell you, although it does not seem that way the airlines are doing heir best to get you on your way before, during and after a storm. It may not seem that way to you as you don’t have all the information. Think about it: Why would the airline want to keep you from getting to where you need to be? Why would they want you to yell at them? The agent in front of you can only tell you what they know and are directed to do and what their experience tells them. With a storm like Jonas, you are in for the long haul, so you have to be patient. You will miss that important event, I’m afraid.
Typically airport hotels fill up fast, so you catch wind of what’s happening, book a hotel quickly. Some hotels will allow cancellation up until 6pm on day of arrival without a charge.
The key is to check your airline’s Web site for the latest news and check your email/phones to see if they sent you messages. Remember you are entitled to a refund if your flight is cancelled. If you are in the EU, you are entitled to even more compensation even for delays over a certain time period. The ruling is called EU Regulation 261/2004. You can quote this to the airline if you like, but it will annoy the agent. You can also check on their Web site and it will tell what compensation you are entitled to receive. So know your rights, read the contract of carriage and check with your airlines. Ask nicely, it works best.
It’s not just airlines that are affected, ferries, trains, buses helicopters as well as public transportation are also affected. You should also check the New City web page for information on street closures and cleanings as well. The city is well equipped as its not its for rodeo in this area.
As a seasoned traveler, I do recommend that you download the apps for each transportation provider as well as follow them on social media since they will use these methods to send updates first. Do this right away. Just search for the airline name in the App store and Google Play Store as well as search on twitter.
Here are the waiver and information pages for select transportation operators serving the New York area so you can check their policies as well as the status of your services. Note that some airlines are much better about providing information than others:
AeroMexico | Aeroflot | airBerlin | Air Canada | Air China | Air Europa | Air France | Air India | Alaska Airlines | Alitalia | All Nippon Airways (ANA) | allegiant | American Airlines | Austrian Airlines | Avianca | British Airways | CapeAir | Cathay Pacific | Caribbean Airlines | Cayman Airways | China Airlines | China Southern Airlines | Copa Airlines | Delta Air Lines | Egyptair | El AL |Emirates | Etihad | EVA Air | Finnair | Fly Jamaica Airways | Frontier | Hawaiian Airlines | Japan Airlines | JetBlue | Jet Airways | KLM | Korean Air | Kuwait | LaCompagnie | LOT Polish | Lufthansa | Meridiana Airlines | Nas Air | Norwegian Air Shuttle | Qantas | Qatar | OpenSkies | Philippines Airlines | Porter Airlines | Royal Air Maroc | Royal Jordanian | Saudi Arabian Airlines | SAS | Singapore Airlines | Swiss | Southwest Airlines | Spirit Airlines | Sun Country | TAM | TAP Portugal | Turkish Airlines | United Airlines | Virgin America | Virgin Atlantic | WestJet | Wowair | XL Airways France
Just to manage your expectations, wait times will be long on the phone, so if your airline allows changes online use that resource. Don’t yell at the agents as they have a ton of calls to process and you are but one of them. The good thing is that this occurred during the non-peak travel season, but you will still be hard pressed to get to where you want to be when you want to, so be patient. Note that the airlines want to get things up and running as soon as possible, but there may be infrastructure damage to some airports/roadways so that will hinder progress. The airports may be open, but the agents can’t get there as the ground transportation systems are not up and running. Be patient.
If you have travel insurance, check your policy as since this is a natural “disaster” things may not be covered. But since the airlines are waving fees and allowing you to make changes without a penalty you may be O.K. You may be covered with Trip Interruption and Trip Delay Insurance, but again check your policy. Also, you may have travel insurance and not know it if your credit you used to purchase the ticket covered, so check your statement/terms and conditions to see what you have. Travel Insurance is always something good to have when you travel.
Good luck and be safe.