What To Do If Your Flight Is Cancelled

An impending blizzard sweeping up from the Northeastern U.S. is expected to cause serious flight delays and cancellations over the next two days, so much so some airlines are already taking precautions.

Multiple flights from Halifax to Newark have been pre-emptively cancelled ahead of the 15 to 30 centimetres of snow expected to hit the Maritimes overnight—and more than 5,000 flights have been cancelled in the States. The U.S.-based National Weather Service called the storm "potentially historic" as it could dump two feet of snow of more between New York and Boston.

Environment Canada is warning travellers not to fly if they don't have to.

"Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve," Environment Canada said in a travel alert. "Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow."

Here's What To Do If Your Flight Gets Cancelled

1. Contact Your Airline 

The first call you want to make is to your airline. Avoid the airport line-ups by calling your airline and speaking directly to a representative about rebooking your flight and arranging for any applicable lodging in the meantime. Depending on your airline, they may reimburse you for part of the costs associated with your cancelled flight, but this will likely depend on the type of ticket you purchased. This will vary on a per airline basis.

WestJet and Air Canada have announced that they will waive fees and offer free rebooking for anyone who was planning to travel Monday to New York or Boston.

2. Contact your travel insurance company 

If you purchased trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance, you'll want to speak with your travel insurance company next about arranging for any reimbursement and next steps.

Tips For Travelling in Bad Weather Conditions

If you have to travel during bad conditions:

  • Consider purchasing trip interruption/trip cancellation insurance
  • Fly direct to avoid potential delays and missed connections
  • Schedule extra time to arrive to the airport as worsened weather conditions may affect road traffic
  • Make sure your phone is charged so you can contact your airline, insurance company and other concerning party in the event of a cancellation

Remember, if you have any questions about your travel insurance coverage be sure to speak with your insurance provider beforehand to ensure you fully understand what is and isn't covered.

And if you absolutely must travel during bad weather conditions, remember to allow plenty of extra time to arrive at the airport and reach your destination.