Thousands of Holiday Flights Delayed or Canceled: Here's What To Do

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What Happened: Thousands of holiday flights have been delayed or canceled as winter storms hit the nation. High winds, ice, and snow are slowing airline operations. Airlines are proactively making adjustments to their flight schedules due to safety and operational concerns. 

So What: A record number of people are traveling this week to visit family and friends for the holidays. With a significant number of flights being delayed or canceled, travelers may need to alter their holiday plans. 

FlightAware tracks flights, including cancellations and delays. At the time of writing, FightAware has reported over 6,000 delays for flights going in or out of the U.S. Additionally, there are more than 2,100 cancellations for flights going in or out of the country. The numbers continue to grow. 

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Many airlines are allowing impacted travelers to reschedule their flights without paying change fees. If you need to adjust your plans, you may be able to do so without penalties. 

American Airlines tweeted this message on Dec. 21, "Winter Storm Elliott is expected to impact operations across the Midwest, Northeast and East Coast airports. Visit our Newsroom to learn more about your flexible travel options," suggesting travelers consider making alternative plans to fly at a different time when the weather improves. According to their notice, those impacted by winter storms can make changes without paying extra fees.  

Now What: If you plan to fly out in the coming days, stay on top of the news. Before heading to the airport, travelers should check if their flight has been delayed or canceled. It's also a good idea to ask if the airline offers free flight changes if they want to avoid traveling at this time. 

This news serves as a good reminder for travelers to review the terms and conditions of their airline tickets before finalizing their bookings. Many airlines offer refundable tickets. While these tickets cost slightly more than non-refundable ones, they provide greater flexibility. 

Reviewing the travel benefits offered with your credit card is also recommended. If you use travel rewards credit cards to book your flights, your card issuer may include travel protections like trip delay and trip cancellation insurance as a perk. 

Knowing what's covered and what isn't before traveling can help you decide how to handle unexpected travel changes. Depending on your coverage, you may qualify for reimbursement for additional travel expenses due to delays and cancellations resulting from severe weather. 

If you're traveling soon and are concerned about the weather reports, it may be best to consider changing your holiday plans to have a less stressful holiday and not risk your safety. 

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