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12-January-2007 : Am I Really Being Delayed By Weather? Maybe….Maybe Not
It happens all the time, you arrive at the airport 90 minutes in advance, or if you are my mother 240 minutes in advance, for your flight. You look up on the “big board” and your flight shows On Time. You check in, you take your time going through security and when you are waiting at the gate the announcement we all hate gets announced “Due to a weather condition Flight 1 to LAX has been delayed yadda yadda yadda yadda.”
This has happened to me, any most travelers, more times than we’d like to hear. Something I have begun to do is look at two web sites. The first web site is the FAA Air Traffic Control (ATC) System Command Center’s real-time status delay site and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Aviation Weather Center web site. Very often an airline will claim a weather delay when there is some other issue, such as a mechanical problem with the flight which delayed it’s arrival.
If you are delayed due to non-weather issues you may be due compensation by the airline. For me, my main concern is travel, so I always seek an immediate transfer to another airline.
While on my way to a wedding in October I was flying from San Diego to Sacramento via San Francisco. The airline kept telling me it was a weather problem, once I was able to go up to the gate and show the gate supervisor a live weather model for almost all of the west coast, including a detailed area of the two airports in question as well as the FAA ATC’s site I was immediately transfered to another carrier and I was on my way within 30 minutes….and got to my wedding on time.
Bookmarking these web sites, so you can access them from the airport WiFi is a very handy idea for the rare cases when you just can’t wait and need to know if the airline is being straight with you or is using weather as an excuse.