10 Ways To Avoid Airline Weather Delays

Tripso, a travel site penned by James Wysong, a long-time airline steward, has 10 tips for avoiding airline delays due to weather. His number one?

1. Travel early in the day. The chances of your getting inconvenienced by a weather event such as a thunderstorm, hail, or blizzard increase dramatically as the day goes on.

10 ways to avoid a weather delay [Tripso] (Thanks to Richard!)
(Photo: mojojornjorn)


Edit Your Comment

  1. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ Ben:

    Suggestion #11 – calling the flight attendants “steward” or “stewardess” can result in meal options being magically unavailable and drinks somehow ending up in your lap. Seriously, it pisses (many of) them off no end.

  2. Ben Popken says:

    @JustAGuy2: What about “Stewie?”

  3. roche says:

    @JustAGuy2: I prefer to call them glorified waiters/waitresses

  4. jmschn says:

    here i am thinking they were called flight attendants…

  5. FatLynn says:

    Let me add one: make sure you are a member of that airlines frequent flier program. It can help you get a higher ranking on the standby list.

  6. CreativeLinks says:

    I love ridiculous lists like these. “Get a Non-Stop flight”, “travel earlier in the day” or my favorite, “check the weather.”

    So what am I supposed to do after “checking the weather?”

    Here in Cincinnati, we were pounded by a snow storm 3 years ago in December–18 inches of snow in like 4 hours. We were under “emergency service vehicles” only on the road.

    We had a flight scheduled that morning, and we couldn’t even GET TO THE AIRPORT.

    We called the airline, who told us that they would offer no refunds/cancellations if we were not there.

    So “knowing the weather” is a pretty silly tip.

  7. JustAGuy2 says:


    Call ’em whatever you want to, but don’t complain to me when you end up wearing your Diet Coke. ;)

  8. jamesdenver says:


    Yeah it’s broad – but I agree with know the “general weather”.

    There’s no way to work around Denver’s 6 freak snowstorms that happened in 6 weeks. But I know living in Denver that summer afternoons have frequent isolated t’storms that bounce around the area almost daily.

    But it’s a crapshoot. A few weeks back on a 5pm flight to L.A. we were held at the ramp for 45 minutes due to lighting. If the storm was 8 miles away takeoffs would have been fine.

  9. mac-phisto says:

    10 tips? i can narrow my list for avoiding weather delays to 1:

    1. don’t fly in bad weather.

  10. kimsama says:

    @CreativeLinks: Actually, I think the non-stop flight suggestion is a good one, even if it seems obvious to you. I know a lot of people who will take flights with multiple hops to save some money (particularly for international flights). I have heard many stories from friends caught in the midwest during bad weather because they chose to fly through Minneapolis or Chicago or whatnot to save $100 on their way to Asia. Usually it means -1 or -2 days from their international trip. The risk of that isn’t worth $100. So, yeah, that’s reasonably good advice right there.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    I don’t call them steward(ess) anymore, but always wondered what’s so denigrating about the term? Anyone know?

    I mean, if it’s good enough for the Royal (and US?) Navy…

  12. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    “Excuse me, Mr. or Ms. Uniformed Crew Member, I couldn’t help but notice the fabulous job you are doing today…”

  13. dantsea says:

    There’s about three items on the list (1, 2 and 5) that would be helpful in avoiding weather delays, with the rest being mostly mediocre advice about how to deal with it once it’s happened. #10 (“put on your headphones and go to your happy place”) is probably the best suggestion, followed by #8’s post-trip advice for getting travel credit, especially if you join the frequent flier program; some airlines will hand out compensation miles like candy.

  14. OwenCatherwood says:

    Why not just ask the Air Traffic Controllers who have to initiate the delays? [www.avoiddelays.org]

    Especially check out the recommendations of the local controllers at major airports:

    Their #1 tip for Denver?
    Passengers should be cautious of late afternoon and evening flights in and out of Denver in the summertime. Thunderstorms roll through here almost every afternoon. These produce high winds, rain and lightning. While the airport can handle it, when lightning is within five miles of the airport, most airlines will keep their ramp personnel inside during the storm. Aircraft will wait either on the tarmac or just feet short of the gate, but they will not be able to offload until the storm passes. This could cause delays in arrivals and departures for short periods of time in the afternoon. Fortunately these storms pass quickly and the suspensions usually only last 15-30 minutes or less.

  15. synergy says:

    Talk about the obvious. I try to take the first flight out if I can possibly arrange it. Anything after 9 or 10AM and you’re going to hit delays. I don’t mind taking a 6 or 630AM flight if it means I don’t have to put up with delays and annoying people.

  16. ChristopherDavis says:

    The list doesn’t include “avoid connecting through problematic airports”. The reason so many Consumerist horror stories of airline misery involve JFK is because that airport has, basically, no slack; when anything goes wrong, the domino effect will screw things up for hours if not days. Once your flight misses its takeoff slot (perhaps the inbound aircraft was delayed by weather somewhere else), you’re stuck trying to get another one; if it’ll take too long, your crew might be over the legal duty times, and you need a new crew…and so forth.

    The weather in NYC may be great, but that thunderstorm over Miami can still mess up your Baltimore-NYC-London flight.