Airline travel issues and severe storms

When hurricanes or other severe storms threaten the US, passengers across the country may be affected. Significant storms, which can occur any time of year, can cause disruption over several states, and may lead to flight cancellations and delays for flights throughout the US.

US severe weather example

On rare occasions, a storm may devastate a city the way that hurricane Katrina devastated parts of New Orleans in 2005, or Sandy devastated the New York and New Jersey area in 2012. However, severe storms frequently strike the US, and many of them may affect air travel for one or more days. If you plan to travel by air when a hurricane or tropical storm threatens to strike land, you should take the time to do the following:

  • Check with your airline to see if your flight is affected
  • Check the airline's web site to see if they are posting special notices about the storm
  • Keep track of storm forecasts
  • Be prepared to have your flight delayed, rerouted, or cancelled

Aeroflot A330 being deiced Keep in mind that your airline may not offer any compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. Typically when a storm affects operations at an airport, the airline may allow you to make changes without costs or penalty. However, you should check with the airline to see what policy may apply.

The following resources may provide you with additional insights into what you can do to deal with a storm that threatens to interfere with your air travel plans.

Severe Storm Updates
National Hurricane Center
NOAA Severe Weather Overview
Weather Underground

General Weather and Turbulence Data
US weather radar
Turbulence maps
US lightning activity
Other turbulence data

Flight Tracking and Status
US flight delays

Passenger Resources
Delays and bumping
Making complaints

Airline travel issues and severe storms

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Photo credits: NOAA, Alex Pereslavtsev

Airline travel issues and severe storms -- Revised: 21 January 2016