The Hurricane Sandy has brought to a stand-still every activity related to air travel in East Coast of the US. If you are among the unlucky thousands who was supposed to travel between 29th October and 2nd November, find out what you can do to weather the storm and how best to get yourself on the next flight to your destination.
Find your flight status.
Over 18,100 flights have been cancelled on 29th and 30th October. If your travel date is in the next two days, you should have been informed by now if your flights have been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Else, you can check with your airlines about the flight status.
Since there are thousands of people who are stranded in airports and hotels just like you, phone lines are very likely to be busy. So check the websites of different airlines for updates or be patient on the phone till you get airline staff on line. Register for mobile updates to get news effortlessly.
Major Airlines Updates.
Delta and United Airlines have cancelled over 2100 and 3700 flights respectively to different airports in US as on 30th October. Customers can request for refunds on cancelled flights or rebook their travel to fly before 7th November without having to pay fees for the modification.
American Airlines had cancelled all its flights to the East Coast; the Hurricane Sandy has resulted in schedule reductions for the entire first half of November. The carrier has offered full refund in case of cancellations, alternative travel arrangements in other available carriers or free one-time flight modification on AA.
While Southwest has restricted travel to and from Baltimore, Washington, Long Island, Newark, New York and Philadelphia; limited flight operations have resumed to airports like Boston, Pittsburgh, Manchester and Buffalo. Passengers were given an option to claim refund on cancellation or reschedule their flights.
Other major airlines like JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have offered passengers the option to claim refunds on cancelled flights or reschedule their travel to a later date without fees.
Are you stranded?
If you were supposed to travel home to the East Coast from other countries or states; chances are it may take up to a week for the situation to get back to normal and even then, getting a ticket may be difficult because of the high demand. Reschedule your flight to the next available date and book a hotel room at the city where you are stranded as soon as you can.
The demand for hotel rooms can go up drastically since there are thousands of travelers in the same situation; so it’s important that you book your room early. Some hotels have come out with special offers for passengers trapped because of Sandy; make use of these offers.
Though airlines are obliged to pay for meals or refreshments if your flight has been delayed by more than two hours, there is no compulsion to pay for your hotel accommodation since the delay were caused due to exceptional circumstances. In any case, keep all meal and hotel receipts since these policies change across countries and carriers.
Even if you have a confirmed travel ticket for travel in the next few days, reconfirm your reservation before traveling and make sure you have a set of essentials in your cabin baggage if you are on a long haul flight.
The Ripple effect
Even if your travel is not to the East Coast or if you have a completely different flight schedule, your flights may be delayed because of the Ripple Effect caused by Hurricane Sandy. For instance, there have been many flight cancellations and significant delays even in Los Angeles though it hasn’t been affected by the Superstorm because these flights either had transit in the East Coast or were dependent on air crew coming in from flights headed from the East.
Though it can be disappointing when your travel plans go astray, understand that these flight cancellations have been made for your safety. Additional expenses for stay and food are unavoidable in you are stranded in a foreign location; but you can try and find out if your travel insurance covers these expenses. So be patient and weather it out.