Winter fog, blizzards and snowstorms are few of the weather factors that lead to delayed flights in winter or even flight cancellations. The Associated Press reported aggressive ice and snow storms this season which have caused the maximum amount of flight cancellations and delays in over 25 years. Delayed flights in summers have been reported to be much lesser as compared to the winter season.
In the United States, over 75,000 domestic airlines have cancelled or delayed flights since the beginning of December. That is essentially 5.5 per cent of the total 1.35 million flights which were scheduled to take off in that period.
Flight delays in the UK during winter
In the United Kingdom, the situation is no better as the winter season has been a time for travel disorder and confusion. Those taking flights from Heathrow and Gatwick, two of the biggest airports in the country have had terrible experiences, as revealed by statistics.
Almost half of the flight departures from both the airports in London were cancelled or delayed during Christmas and New Year in the last year. On an average, 38 per cent of all departures from the United Kingdom, or two out of five departures were impacted and Heathrow sat well over the 47 per cent average.
At Heathrow, out of the 9, 521 flights which were to take off during the festive season last year, 63 got cancelled and a staggering 4,409 were delayed owing to severe rain and high winds.
At the same time, the situation was more or less the same at the next major London airport, Gatwick where more than 45 per cent of the departing flights were affected. The other airports making to the top five list delayed/cancelled flights include Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester.
Airline policies for passengers in case of flight delays
Below is a primer with regards to everything that should ideally be incorporated in an airline policy in case of a flight delay or cancellation, the occurrence of which is much more in the winter season as compared to the summer.
- An option of making changes to booked tickets, possibly worded as the liberty to shift up or postpone your full itinerary by 7 days with respect to the original date.
- The option to change the ticket altogether. You might be able to use the entire value of the ticket which you have not used for the purchase of another ticket to a new destination.
- You should be able to make changes to the ticket without paying penalties. Typically a single time change (in the absence of any fees) is allowed with the same itinerary.
- Flight delay compensation i.e. Partial or total refunds could be part of airline policy in case of flight delays. With extremely bad weather leading to flight delays, extending up to hours or days, it is possible for the airlines to offer you a refund.