But you won’t be grounded forever. Really. You’ll make it home or, as flight attendants say over the intercom, to wherever your final destination may be.
For advice on how to rebook and reschedule hurricane-affected trips, we turned to Courtney Scott, senior editor of Travelocity.com. (We also contacted Expedia, but the booking site declined our interview request for this admirable reason: “We’d love to ask your help, if you have a non-urgent issue and can wait to talk to someone, to please call back later so those with critical issues can get help quickly.” The online travel booking company has posted pertinent info on rebooking flights on its Web site.)
How long will I be stuck?
The aftermath and impact of Sandy on travel will last through the end of the week. Expect widespread delays not only on the Eastern Seaboard but also across the U.S. due to a ripple effect caused by the hurricane. If you are stuck somewhere and trying to get back to the New York metro area, for example, you may not be able to get a flights until Thursday, Friday or even later, depending on the carrier. It’s still too early to tell how bad the ripple effect will be.
Should I try to get home or stay put?
Best to follow guidelines set forth by the city or state you’re in. No one should be out on the roads in the midst of a hurricane. If you haven’t already sought shelter in a hotel or a friend’s or family member’s home, it’s better to stay in the airport until the storm passes. Do not go to the airport, though, if you think your flight could be cancelled. It’s better to make alternate plans at home.
What should I do if I’m stranded on the East Coast?
Be proactive. Log on to your carrier’s Web site or call your local carrier directly to find out the latest information on cancellations. Look for your carrier’s waiver code, which you can enter online when rebooking your trip and avoid paying change/cancellation fees or change-of-ticket fees.
Expect long hold times when calling the carrier or hotel. Download mobile apps and stay connected to Twitter to receive information faster than you would calling your carrier or waiting in line at the airport.
When should I rebook a cancelled flight? Will I incur any penalty fees for changing plans?
If your flight is cancelled, nearly all airlines are offering a refund on your flight or will waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for passengers who wish to change their flights. However, that next available flight could be a long way off. Rebook your flight as soon as you can; there will be a huge demand for seats in and out of the affected areas in the coming days after the storm.