If there is ever a time you want to leave Boston, it’s in the dead middle of winter. If there is ever a risky time to fly out of Logan, it’s in the dead middle of winter. And, if you want to increase the odds of a nor’easter or bomb cyclone cancelling or delaying your flight, then book a critical business meeting or a dream vacation in the dead middle of winter.
Of all the airports in the U.S., Logan International Airport has the sixth highest percent of delays due to weather (49.2%). Boston ranks near the top of the major hubs for average snow with 43.5 inches and days with measurable precipitation at 126. Weather.com lists Logan as the windiest major airport in the country.
The statistics are stacked against your flight departing and arriving on time. You can’t change the weather, but you can pull a few tricks out of your carry-on bag that will help you get to your final destination on time or as close to it as possible.
Insider Tips for Surviving Winter Flight Cancellations and Delays
1. Start checking your weather app a week ahead of your flight. Also, check the airline’s website and social media posts for travel waiver information. When severe weather or other major events impact flight operations, sometimes airlines issue travel waivers to allow travelers to change to alternate flights without paying a change fee.
2. If bad weather is in the forecast, travel with a carry-on, if possible. It’s easier to change flights at the airport if you don’t have checked luggage deal with.
3. Sign up with your airline to receive email and text notifications. Even if Boston isn’t experiencing weather delays, other airports may be, which can cause a back-up at Logan.
4. Download your airline’s app and allow push notifications to get delay, cancellation, gate change, etc. information in real time.
5. When your flight is cancelled for any reason you are entitled to a refund, but don’t expect the airline to automatically issue one. You have to request it. Also, some hotels will refund your money if your flight is cancelled.
6. When there’s a weather-related delay, airlines are only required to rebook you on their own flights, but some tickets can be transferred to another airline. Ask about all of your options!
7. Reserve a seat if you rebook or change your flight, even if you have to settle for a middle seat. Passengers without seat assignments are the first to be bumped from an oversold flight.
8. Be the one who’s being nice. The airline’s call center representatives are acutely aware that delays and cancellations are inconvenient and make travelers angry. Instead of yelling at them (like others are doing), take the opposite approach. A little buttering up never hurt anyone, and you never know when you might get a sympathetic person on the other end of the line.
9. Buy travel insurance. Coverage and benefits vary by policy, but a policy can cover expenses incurred due to a delay or cancellation that aren’t reimbursed by the airline.
10. Use a travel agent. If you’ve been stuck in an airport during a storm, then you know that problems are rarely resolved to your satisfaction. When flights are overbooked or delayed, you’re tired of waiting in line, and your umpteenth call to customer service goes nowhere, the only thing you want to know is that it’s being handled. Someone knows what’s going on, and that’s a travel agent.
For more business or leisure travel tips and destination inspiration, visit www.ciretravel.com or follow CIRE on Instagram at @CIREtravel.
Eric Hrubant is a 20+ year travel industry veteran and owner and president of CIRE Travel, a corporate and leisure travel agency. Eric and his team of agents use their A-list connections to deliver an exceptional, concierge-like travel experience. CIRE has offices in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Kennebunkport, Maine, and serves clients around the country and throughout the world.