JFK is infamous for flight delays, but the majority of its flights arrive on time and depart on time. Seven out of 10 times, your plane will be right on time at JFK.
But what about the winter? All bets are off when winter arrives and a blizzard could hit the East Coast or the Midwest, causing a ripple effect of delays and cancellations. And if you remember the Winter we have seen this year with airport parking, no one welcomes mountains of snow when they need to fly out of town.
Suggestions for Coping
Your best bet to avoid delays is to choose a nonstop flight, because you will reduce the possibility of delays or missing your connecting flight. The earlier your flight, the better, too: delays tend to compound as the day goes on.
During and after a terrible snowstorm, your best bet is to not head out to the airport unless your flight is confirmed. The best advice is to contact your airline before getting in your car and heading to the airport. If you've made an airport parking reservation at an offsite parking facility, you should remember to contact them to cancel your spot, especially for those parking at busy airports like JFK, EWR, and LGA. If you're at the airport when your flight gets cancelled, try to rebook for a new time as soon as you can, before everyone else does.
If you think there's a chance that you'll be waiting at the airport, you'll want to be prepared with your favorite snacks to make the wait more tolerable. Otherwise, you'll be stuck buying expensive restaurant food at the airport, and your airline carrier is not required to reimburse you for those expenses. Inclement weather is not under the control of the airlines.
The good news is that most airlines won't charge rebooking fees when a snowstorm is wreaking havoc on travel in the U.S., and they'll offer refunds for passengers who can't get out because of major flight delays. In Europe, the rules are a bit stricter and tighter. If your flight in the EU is going to be delayed by more than two hours, the airline is required to provide you with meals and refreshments and two phone calls or emails. If you are delayed by more than five hours, you may ask for a refund. Flights to and from Europe from other parts of the world are included, according to EU law.