If Your Flight Is Cancelled Due To A Storm Do You Have To Sleep In The Airport?

Feb 23, 2014

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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. 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 info@thepointsguy.com.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card

This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.