What to do if your flight gets delayed or canceled

snowstorm delay
Thousands of flights are delayed as a snowstorm hits the Northeast.
Credit: Reuters

More than 1,800 flights were canceled nationwide Thursday as a blizzard approached the Northeast, according to FlightAware.com. If you’re among the passengers flying out Thursday night or Friday morning, Orbitz senior editor Jeanenne Tornatore shared tips on how to devise a good Plan B as soon as possible.

1. Switch your flight now: If your flight hasn’t been canceled already, it probably will be, so it’s a good idea to reschedule ahead of the masses. Tornatore says that all of the major airlines have put their waiver programs in place, which means you don’t have to pay in order to change or cancel your flight. “If you want to schedule yourself on a later flight, this is good news for travelers who want to cancel or change their trips,” she said.

2. Download a travel app to use at the airport: Arrival delays were as long as five hours, according to Tornatore. Travel apps, like Orbitz’s own, allow you to book a hotel instantly and see in real time what’s available nearby if you don’t want to stay at the airport’s hotel. “It allows you to book hotels the same day,” said Tornatore. “Downloading these apps is really important.”

3. Put customer service numbers on speed dial: Tornatore said it’s a good idea to save 1-800 customer service phone numbers on speed dial. “If your flight gets canceled, you can call them immediately because in most cases everybody walks over to the customer service counter,” she said. “You should do that, too, but you have to do both.” Tornatore said both calling and going to the counter will increase your chances of getting a seat on the next flight when lines and wait times are long.


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