What happens to my holiday when bad weather strikes?

Approx read: 2 mins

Storm’s a-comin’! But I’m going on holiday! Now what?

Follow the birdie

Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Most government travel sites have a ‘Natural Disaster’ section, with links to relevant sites. Stay updated by following the sites on Twitter.

Read the fine print

While you’re freaking out about a washed up holiday, read the terms of the credit card you used to book your trip. Your credit card might offer trip delay, interruption or cancellation insurance.

Keep an eye on your airline

Follow your airline on Twitter. If you need to communicate, especially about a potential natural disaster destination, try tweeting your query; it’s much faster than the phone tree. No Twitter account dedicated to customer service? Hop on Skype and try the international line. In Bulgaria. Or anywhere you doubt the customer service reps are very busy.

Your airport’s website may also offer updates.

For a little perspective, or the sheer joy of Schadenfreude, check out FlightAware’s MiseryMap, a real-time infographic visualisation of flight delays in the US.

Know your rights

Have a quick look at the terms of your ticket. Some tickets offer a refund or passage on a rescheduled flight. For extra long delays, you may be entitled to a stale sandwich and some wretched coffee.

Still stuck? Be nice!

If you get rerouted halfway through, please don’t take it out on the person behind the counter. She didn’t ruin your holiday, the angry gods of the firmaments did. Think of the new location as an opportunity to try Couch Surfing, or take a city tour with 100 of your fellow stuck passengers. Nothing breeds solidarity like misery!

Scroll through your social media contacts. Do you know anyone in the area? Can you think of a better time for an awkward reunion in real life?

Flight grounded? Know your rights!

Sarah is a blogger, writer and amateur palaeontologist from New Orleans. When not writing or digging dinosaurs, she teaches English.