What to do when your flight is delayed or canceled because of weather

Delayed and canceled flights can leave travelers stuck trying to make the best of a bad situation in an unfamiliar location. Experts say there are a few things to know that could save you some stress and maybe even some money.

Here’s what you need to know.

Before you travel

Dana Fowle with FOX 5 Atlanta notes that travelers should check the weather forecasts before they leave, and offers these specific tips:

  1. Have your airline’s app on your phone. Learn to navigate it before you travel. Memorize your password.
  2. Allow notifications to come to your phone. You can also turn off that setting after your trip.
  3. Download an app called FlightAware. It'll help you double track what’s going on in the air on your departure day.

File: A Southwest Airlines passenger checks-in for their flight at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on April 18, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

If you see bad weather looming, travel expert "The Points Guy" says you should try to change your flight to a day earlier, or at least leave at another time of day to avoid the poor forecast. For example, if you are flying at 5 p.m. and you see bad weather coming, try to reschedule to a 7 a.m. flight.

If your flight is delayed or canceled

As soon as you learn your flight is delayed, try re-booking it quickly online, with the app or at the kiosk. If the airline’s phone number is backlogged, try calling through the international number – that’s a Points Guy workaround. If that doesn’t work, then try a ticketing agent. Speed is your friend here.

"I do advise to go on the app if you need to make a change," commercial pilot Kathleen Bangs told FOX Weather. "The key is don’t wait, as soon as you get on there, as soon as you can, try and either change that flight or see what you can do with the flight that was missed. If you decide, ‘Well, now I no longer want to travel,’ don’t just let that go. You want to jump on that and make that change."

File: A traveler views cancelled and delayed flights on a departure board at Logan International Airport (BOS) during a storm in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. (Mel Musto/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

You do have the option to re-book with another airline and hope your original airline will refund you later. If you go that route, check to see if your credit card has a trip delay or cancelation refund policy.

When you do succeed in getting a new flight, don't be late for check-in. And be nice.

Airline delay and cancelation policies

File: A child lays on their luggage while her parents speaks to gate agents at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport on January 15, 2024 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

For the record, larger airlines generally have better on-time records. Delta has the best on-time record at 78%. The more budget-friendly airlines lag a bit. Frontier comes in last with a reported 56.6% on-time record.

And remember, most airlines can rebook passengers on other airlines thanks to cooperative agreements but Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest and Spirit do not have such agreements.

LINK: You can compare airlines' policies on the federal dashboard

Information from FOX 5, FOX Business, and FOX Weather was used in this report.