DELAYED. Nobody wants to see that this time of year, or, really, any time. The UK is covered with inches of snow, and the Blitz Spirit has dissolved into the Blizzard Disspirit, while the northern US frequently has issues of ice, snow and general wintriness. (Yes, that's a word. Hush.)
So what can you, traveller, do to maximise your chances of getting where you're going on time?
For a start, if wintry weather is forecast, get in touch with your airline and see if they will pre-emptively change your flight. Even on a no-changes ticket, many will, if only so they don't have to deal with you when the, er, snow hits the fan. If you are connecting in an airport where snow is forecast, see if your airline will route you through somewhere else. Even if it takes an extra few hours of flying from, say, Boston to Boise via Houston than via Newark on Continental, it's well worth it for a more reliable connection. Stay out of the snow belt. BA fliers should bear in mind that increasing BA-Iberia tie-ups mean that changing to fly via Madrid may be a more sensible option than connecting through Heathrow if anything more than "unseasonably brisk" is forecast for London.
If your flight is cancelled or you miss your connection, and you're flying on a US airline, your best bet is to buy your way into the airline's business or first class lounge. For a start, the line to rebook will be significantly shorter, the lounge attendants likely more senior and definitely less haraassed, and you'll have a comfortable place to wait, likely with free drinks, snacks (or more substantial food) and often showers and Internet access. (Top tip: don't use the showers and the Internet access at the same time.)
A one-time access purchase will likely set you back around $50. I suggested this to my friend Meg today when her incoming flight made her miss her connection, and she was able to get away on the 7am flight the next day rather than the 1pm flight because she bought her way into the lounge and got ahead of the rest of the queue.
If your airline doesn't let you do that, then check with one of their airline alliance (Oneworld, Star Alliance, or Skyteam) partners to see if they can help. With the ever-increasing link-ups between airlines, the American Airlines lounge may let you buy access and also be of assistance with rebooking your BA or Cathay Pacific flight.
Of course, those of you with status in your airline's frequent flier programme will already know the benefits of this trick, but for the rest of you...enjoy, and good luck!
For photo credit, click on the photo to be taken to its Flickr page.