What to do when your flight is canceled due to weather

Holiday and winter travel are upon us, but cancellations due to weather could put a brake on the season’s festivities. There are, however, ways to maximize your chances of getting to your destination. 

Mark Ellwood, contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler, recommended dropping a reference to “interlining” to an airline representative.


“When you get these cancellations, what you’re entitled to or what they will tend to offer you is the next flight on that airline to your destination. But I’d always ask, there’s an industry lingo called ‘interlining.’ And it essentially is airlines making nice with each other and helping each other out,” Ellwood said. “It doesn’t always apply. But if you ask nicely and say, ‘Hey, is there an interlining agreement?’ you could end up on another airline, but much sooner.”

If your airline is overbooked during the holidays and your gate agent says there isn’t a seat for you, even if you paid for your ticket, Ellwood said, “Remember the airlines are very unlikely to just close their arms and say you can’t come on. They’re going to buy you off.”

Ellwood recommended playing hard to get.


“Those gate agents have the power to give more money than they used to. I would wait until it’s a really sizable amount,” he said.

Lastly, if you’re trying to use your points for trips and finding it difficult, Ellwood said the rewards programs are structured in a “real cat-and-mouse game.” But he advised saving points for long-haul, bucket list-type trips, and going to points experts to book the trips for you.

“There are people who make frequent flyer miles their hobbies. You can pay someone, say, $200, and get them to book on your behalf. And they will work out the best value you can get,” Ellwood said.


He recommended services like Award Magic and PointsPros. 

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