NEW YORK - Winter has not been kind to airline travelers. Since Dec. 21, more than 74,825 US flights have been cancelled and another 285,889 delayed in the United States, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks flights.
I was one of those unlucky travelers.
During the Presidents Day weekend, I was set to go to Los Angeles from New York with my 9-year-old son. The day before our flight, New York City encountered a large snowstorm, but when we woke up to start our trip, the sun was shining and the roads and runways were clear.
Before we left for the airport, United's handy iPhone app indicated everything was fine, but shortly after we arrived at the airport, a "Canceled" message popped up on the departures board. An email from United followed: I was automatically put on a flight three days later, my 9-year-old son was rebooked a day after that.
Since that arrangement wasn't going to work, I jumped on the gate line and simultaneously dialed United's customer service number - which had a 60-minute wait. I also tried getting the airline's attention via Twitter. My goal: To get us to California sooner and definitely on the same plane.
Ultimately, it took three days before we reached sunny, snow-free LA. And just as we landed, after having missed a day at Universal Studios, my boyfriend and his boys were waiting on the tarmac across the airport about to head home.
Should I have taken a different approach? I spoke to several travel experts to get advice on what to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled.