Traveling is stressful enough without having to deal with things like flight cancellations. It's important to know what to do if your flight is canceled because of inclement weather or another reason. Here's how you can stay safe and get home fast!

Act Quickly & Calmly

Whether you're a frequent flyer or someone who's never flown before, what happens when your flight is canceled? What should you do?

The first thing to remember is that this can happen to anyone. Airlines are bound by law to offer customers with non-refundable tickets a credit for future travel and give them the option of another flight on their airline at no additional cost. If you've got a refundable ticket (meaning one that can be changed), it's best to wait until after the storm passes before checking in with the airline about your options.

When trying to find alternative flights, keep in mind that airlines like American and Delta have a three-hour rule for rebooking flights. If you're scheduled for an early morning departure but don't get there until 4 p.m., chances are slim that they'll be able to accommodate you without charging fees or taking away perks like bag allowances and priority boarding privileges.

Be Polite and Patient

Your first reaction might be to get angry, but that won't help in getting a refund or rescheduling your flight. Try not to let frustration or anger get the better of you. You'll need to remain calm and polite in order for the airline staff to take your claims seriously.

It's also important not to argue with the airline staff or demand things that seem unreasonable at this point (like a full refund). Remember, they are doing their best under difficult circumstances and may not have all the information that you do. It's in your best interest not to make them feel bad about themselves when they're already stressed out trying to meet customer demands during such an unprecedented event.

Know the Policy

If you're on an airline that allows cancellations, you may be able to get a refund if your flight is canceled. If the cancellation is because of weather conditions, ask for a refund as soon as possible (within 72 hours of departure), and make sure you know the airline's policy for cancellations. Some airlines allow only one change or cancellation per ticket; others will allow more changes without penalty.

If the company is giving refunds instead of giving credit for future travel, don't hesitate to ask for a cash refund if you don't want a credit on another flight. If there are no other flights available at this time, it's still better than nothing!

Ask & You Shall Receive

When you're dealing with a company and its customer service, it's important to remember that most people who ask for what they want, get what they want. If we're being honest, I think most of us are used to being told “NO” that we don't even know how to start asking. If they are not willing to work with you, it’s OK to be upset. Your flight home should not be held hostage because of bad weather. You have every right to be angry and frustrated at this point! Nobody wants their trip ruined by a storm or other unforeseen event beyond their control.

I hope this article has helped you avoid some of the headaches associated with airline travel. It can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be if you know what to expect when your flight gets canceled because of weather conditions.