During bad weather conditions, the news channels seem to be chocked full of reports of stranded travelers. Travelers going out and travelers in the midst of traveling often get stuck at an airport, without notice. So, if you frequently fly, here are some tips for helping you avoid getting stranded at an airport:
Know the weather. You want to concern yourself with the weather that occurs at your beginning point, the path in which the plane usually takes, and your ending point. If the weather holds tornadoes, heavy rain, or ice, chances are that your plane will either be grounded, meaning that the plane won’t be able to take off from its destination, or the plane might be forced to land at an airport other than the one you plan to fly into.
Know the Carrier. It’s important to know how the carrier you intend to fly with operates in times of delays/cancellations. Do they have the ability to reroute to avoid bad weather? Do they bring in another plane to help catch up once the flights fall behind? Do they accommodate the domino process of lost time by cancelling all future flights for that evening? If this is the case, can you fly standby to get back home?
Know How to Fly Standby. If you fly out for a short business trip (or even a long one), and you anticipate bad weather along the way, it might be a smart move to fly standby coming back, meaning that you can fly on a flight other than the one that you are scheduled on. To do so, arrive at the airport early and present your ticket to the airline counter, letting them know which flight you want to fly standby with.
If you have an Advantage number (or other priority number), this will help you to obtain priority consideration in the standby flying process, but this still doesn’t guarantee you a seat on that flight. You just have to wait until the flight is about to board to find out whether or not a seat is available. Even so, this helps you resolve issues from bad weather interruptions and this service costs nothing extra in the way of fees.
The good news about flying standby is that this is a relatively easy process to do if you have not checked any baggage. You simply check in as a standby passenger and wait. However, it’s not quite that easy if you have already checked baggage because some of the airlines now have new rules that you must travel with your baggage. So, if you can, try to keep your baggage with you if you think that you might need to fly standby.
Know When to Fly Standby. Some weather (such as heavy rain and ice storms) poses obvious risks of flight delays/cancellations, but also watch for the small weather changes that can cause delays/cancellations. For instance, a light rain really poses no problems, right? What about the lightning that the rain can carry, though? Yes, even the smallest existence of lightning can cause some trouble.
Lightning may not cause the plane to delay/cancel once in the air, but it can cause the plane from taking off if it has not already pushed back because many airports do not allow employees outside during times of lightning. If this is the case, your flight can delay until the lightning has stopped, and this means that you are stuck wherever you are until then, whether it’s in the airport or on the plane.
While it’s true that you’ll not always be able to avoid getting stranded at an airport, these pointers can help you gauge the conditions and make getting stranded at an airport less likely. The key to this process is to arm yourself with information about the weather surrounding the entire flight, from start to finish.
On a final note, airports are going to have different facilities and work structures like for example, Seattle Washington airport is as different from Boston International as chalk from cheese so therefore it is better to learn about those airports where your flight is scheduled so that you can adjust with the atmosphere and certain inconveniences that you are likely to encounter under various circumstances.