Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Any flexibility ahead of anticipated weather delays?

Any flexibility ahead of anticipated weather delays?

Old Sep 9, 19, 5:26 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 2
Any flexibility ahead of anticipated weather delays?

Hi,

I, along with my wife and 11 month-old daughter, have a reservation to fly on United from EWR to Europe on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, the forecast calls for rain and storms, especially in the late afternoon/evening, which is when we are scheduled to depart. This spring/summer has seen a number of storms in the EWR area completely overwhelm the airport's scheduled departures, and throw a number of flight plans into chaos. I was wondering... does anyone have any experience dealing with United to change travel plans (without incurring change fees) BEFORE one's flight is officially delayed? I ask because when it comes to the late afternoon/early evening storms at EWR, the airline tends to not formally announce flight delays until the powers that be announce a ground delay, or something of that sort. Then, once the storm hits, these transatlantic flights tend to see multiple, lengthy delays, which require passengers to sit in the airport for hours on end because the airline did not communicate or anticipate the delays far enough in advance of the scheduled flight time.

With the above as background, and especially because we will be traveling with an infant, I'm thinking that my options are to either (1) stick it out -- come what may -- with the original flight, or (2) assuming the forecast does not change between now and Thursday morning, call United at that time and preemptively ask if we can be switched to the Friday flight on the same route (without incurring change fees), so as to avoid the likelihood of prolonged delays at the airport on top of a 7-plus hour transatlantic redeye flight. Does Option 2 sound like wishful thinking? Any insight (or alternative options) would be appreciated! Thanks!
cms5001 is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 5:45 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 10,782
Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
I'm thinking that my options are to either (1) stick it out -- come what may -- with the original flight, or (2) assuming the forecast does not change between now and Thursday morning, call United at that time and preemptively ask if we can be switched to the Friday flight on the same route (without incurring change fees), so as to avoid the likelihood of prolonged delays at the airport on top of a 7-plus hour transatlantic redeye flight. Does Option 2 sound like wishful thinking?
Welcome to FlyerTalk!

Those are your options, and, yes, Option 2 sounds like wishful thinking. I suspect you'll just get someone who will assure you that your flight will be on-time. And, for that matter, it probably will; transoceanic flights tend to get priority during weather events -- to the extent that anything can take off or land, anyway. (If it's not safe, it's not safe).
jsloan is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 6:02 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Chicago
Programs: United Mileage Plus, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy
Posts: 570
Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
Hi,

I, along with my wife and 11 month-old daughter, have a reservation to fly on United from EWR to Europe on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, the forecast calls for rain and storms, especially in the late afternoon/evening, which is when we are scheduled to depart. This spring/summer has seen a number of storms in the EWR area completely overwhelm the airport's scheduled departures, and throw a number of flight plans into chaos. I was wondering... does anyone have any experience dealing with United to change travel plans (without incurring change fees) BEFORE one's flight is officially delayed? I ask because when it comes to the late afternoon/early evening storms at EWR, the airline tends to not formally announce flight delays until the powers that be announce a ground delay, or something of that sort. Then, once the storm hits, these transatlantic flights tend to see multiple, lengthy delays, which require passengers to sit in the airport for hours on end because the airline did not communicate or anticipate the delays far enough in advance of the scheduled flight time.

With the above as background, and especially because we will be traveling with an infant, I'm thinking that my options are to either (1) stick it out -- come what may -- with the original flight, or (2) assuming the forecast does not change between now and Thursday morning, call United at that time and preemptively ask if we can be switched to the Friday flight on the same route (without incurring change fees), so as to avoid the likelihood of prolonged delays at the airport on top of a 7-plus hour transatlantic redeye flight. Does Option 2 sound like wishful thinking? Any insight (or alternative options) would be appreciated! Thanks!
Can you imagine what the airline would go through if thousands of pax were able to pull something like this 72 hours ahead of ‘weather’?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 9, 19 at 8:26 pm Reason: Removed snark
AirbusFan2B is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 7:03 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 11,101
Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
Unfortunately, the forecast calls for rain and storms, especially in the late afternoon/evening, which is when we are scheduled to depart. This spring/summer has seen a number of storms in the EWR area completely overwhelm the airport's scheduled departures, and throw a number of flight plans into chaos.
I wouldn't put much stock in a 72 hour forecast.

Even if it's correct, afternoon/evening storms are sometimes it's no worse than a usual day in the sEWeR, especially for eastbound departures.

Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
I was wondering... does anyone have any experience dealing with United to change travel plans (without incurring change fees) BEFORE one's flight is officially delayed?
Outside of a broad waiver program, no.

Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
I ask because when it comes to the late afternoon/early evening storms at EWR, the airline tends to not formally announce flight delays until the powers that be announce a ground delay, or something of that sort.
This doesn't really add up since the international departures are the airlines high priority flights, and the GDP announcement isn't really the trigger for longhaul delays because of swaps.

Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
Then, once the storm hits, these transatlantic flights tend to see multiple, lengthy delays,
[citation needed]

Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
which require passengers to sit in the airport for hours on end because the airline did not communicate or anticipate the delays far enough in advance of the scheduled flight time.
[citation strongly needed]

Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
With the above as background, and especially because we will be traveling with an infant, I'm thinking that my options are to either (1) stick it out -- come what may -- with the original flight, or (2) assuming the forecast does not change between now and Thursday morning, call United at that time and preemptively ask if we can be switched to the Friday flight on the same route (without incurring change fees), so as to avoid the likelihood of prolonged delays at the airport on top of a 7-plus hour transatlantic redeye flight. Does Option 2 sound like wishful thinking? Any insight (or alternative options) would be appreciated! Thanks!
Option 3 is to pay the current market clearing price to change your travel plans to better suit your preferences.

Option 2 isn't a real option.

Last edited by mduell; Sep 9, 19 at 7:08 pm
mduell is offline  
Old Sep 9, 19, 8:41 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: NYC
Posts: 12
What weather forecast are you looking at? On Thurs the Newark area is projected to be partly sunny then clouds arriving but no chance of rain in the forecast at all right now.

Last edited by COUnited; Sep 9, 19 at 9:33 pm
COUnited is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 2:45 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K MM (soon to be Gold), Hertz PC
Posts: 2,868
Originally Posted by COUnited View Post
What weather forecast are you looking at? On Thurs the Newark area is projected to be partly sunny then clouds arriving but no chance of rain in the forecast at all right now.
I see "Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day."
There is definitely a chance of rain though.
narvik is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 3:16 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland CA
Programs: UA *G, AS MVP
Posts: 890
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
[citation strongly needed]
Some rather snarky comments here (@mduell go see any of the ‘delayed/cancelled flights’ threads for plenty of reports where United doesn’t post a delay in advance and/or does rolling delays for hours... ) but the info is correct. You are very unlikely to have any ability to switch unless the flight is actually delayed.

Day of flight you might be able to call and ask for a ‘same day change’ to the next day; the fee for this is $75 per pax and the space has to be available. Officially you can’t change to the same flight the next day, but sometimes you’ll get an agent who will do it anyway.

Transatlantic long haul does get priority in weather, so personally I’d just go to the airport as planned. You’ll probably be fine.

And welcome to FT!
dordal is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 4:51 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: STR, IAD, and DCA
Programs: UA 1K; *G and *A Top 1000; DL Plat; HHonors Diamond; *$ Gold; Marriott Plat; Global Entry
Posts: 1,785
It sounds like OP is on a simple TATL flight without a connection. In this case, best course of action is to wait out any possible delay.
sannmann is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 4:56 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 2
Agreed

Originally Posted by dordal View Post
Some rather snarky comments here (@mduell go see any of the ‘delayed/cancelled flights’ threads for plenty of reports where United doesn’t post a delay in advance and/or does rolling delays for hours... ) but the info is correct. You are very unlikely to have any ability to switch unless the flight is actually delayed.

Day of flight you might be able to call and ask for a ‘same day change’ to the next day; the fee for this is $75 per pax and the space has to be available. Officially you can’t change to the same flight the next day, but sometimes you’ll get an agent who will do it anyway.

Transatlantic long haul does get priority in weather, so personally I’d just go to the airport as planned. You’ll probably be fine.

And welcome to FT!
Thanks @dordal. Agreed — a few comments read as though they come from people who have never experienced a series of rolling, weather-based delays at Newark.
cms5001 is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 5:02 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: BOS/EAP
Programs: UA 1K, MR LTT, HH Gold, Amex Plat
Posts: 24,500
Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
Thanks @dordal. Agreed — a few comments read as though they come from people who have never experienced a series of rolling, weather-based delays at Newark.
You should be concerned if you had a connection in EWR. On a nonstop to Europe you’ll be fine.
cfischer is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 6:25 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: YUL
Programs: UA 1K, OZ
Posts: 5,900
Originally Posted by cms5001 View Post
Thanks @dordal. Agreed — a few comments read as though they come from people who have never experienced a series of rolling, weather-based delays at Newark.
Plenty have experienced rolling delays in EWR, a lot of my flying is to Upstate NY which is the worst victim. That being said, TATL flights are rarely affected. There are rarely ground stops in EWR itself for weather, more often than not, the weather causes delays for flights taking off to come to EWR. This doesn’t affect TATL because they are generally already in the air flying to EWR. UA, nor any other airline, would agree to your request without a weather waiver, and there is unlikely to be one.

But that’s okay, because if there are storms, your TATL flight will probably still be on time.
dinoscool3 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread