This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

With the recent snow storms along the East Coast, TPG reader Loren tweeted me asking:

@thepointsguy If your flight is canceled in a snowstorm do the airlines have to put you in a hotel or do you just sleep in the airport?”

The short answer is no.

There really aren’t many consumer protections in the US, compared to Europe, where there are a ton. U.S. airlines really don’t have to get you to your destination whenever there’s a weather event or something else that really isn’t their fault – and you kind of have to give it to them. They can’t afford to house thousands and thousands of people every time Mother Nature throws a curve ball. Airlines generally don’t make that much money to begin with, and one storm could knock any of these smaller, teetering airlines out of business.

A board full of canceled flights is every traveler
A board full of canceled flights is every traveler’s nightmare.

However, I do believe that they should work a little bit harder to accommodate people, and to have more airline partnerships to get people moving. For instance, during the last big storm, I was in an airport headed onto a flight to Miami, and all around me JetBlue customers had been stranded for five days; meanwhile there were empty seats on my American Airlines flight.

In the end, though, it’s really your responsibility to have a plan B. I’ve written at length about snowstorms and how to get around long wait times on the airlines, but it’s all really up to you. During this brutal winter with tons of different storms and flight cancellations and delays, try to familiarize yourself with as many tips as possible so you don’t get stranded and have to eat all those extra hotel costs.

You don
You don’t want to end up like this!

But as I often say, it never hurts to ask and see what an airline rep can do for you. Try to find a friendly agent at the airport, explain that you’re stranded and don’t have the funds for an overnight stay – and see what they are willing to do. You might be surprised.

For more information, check out my post on How To Get Compensation When Things Go Wrong on Flights.

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.