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The weather forecast for the Caribbean is not good right now. I'm scheduled to fly Friday night from San Francisco to Bogota and I have a layover for 4 hours in Panama City, Panama. While the weather in Bogota is fine, there are 3 hurricanes forming in the vicinity the of the Caribbean that is in the direct path of my flight.

I am covered by CSA insurance in the event that my flight is delayed more than 12 hours, or cancelled.

Is there any information, guide out there that can help me predict whether my flight would be cancelled, based on weather? Or does an airport sometimes give us prediction, or try to withhold information until it knows with certainty whether they plan to cancel/delay flights? eg. If it were possible for me to know that my flight would be cancelled with a "likely" probability, I would likely make other plans and not even go to the airport to wait and find out.

In the event that I decide to proceed with my travel plans, and it turns out my flight is delayed for over 12 hours, will I have to have waited at the airport for up to 12 hours if I only wanted to abort my plans only after I knew I would get reimbursed (trip is delayed over 12 hours)?

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    Since neither the origin, destination, or layover airports appear likely to be directly affected by the weather, I think it's very likely that the flights will operate as scheduled, taking a different flight path. You might arrive a little late due to increased flying time or possibly an extra fuel stop, but with a 4 hour layover I would not be worried. – Nate Eldredge Sep 7 '17 at 4:54
  • Hurricane Katia seems to be heading for landfall in Mexico, so should not effect Panama City, Irma and Jose are both predicted to head north. So, while you always need to keep an eye of whats happening, I wouldn't think your flights will be effected. – user13044 Sep 7 '17 at 4:54
  • What do you mean when you say the hurricanes are in the direct path of your flight? They will generally be able to simply fly around storms. The problem comes when you're flying in/out of cities experiencing extreme weather. I'm not aware that Panama (or Bogota, or San Francisco for that matter) is currently forecast to be impacted at all (Panama City, Florida is another story, of course). – Zach Lipton Sep 7 '17 at 4:56
  • Here you can see the path taken by a SFO-PTY flight earlier today. It doesn't really go over the Gulf of Mexico nor the Caribbean Sea, and it doesn't seem to have needed to change its route to dodge Hurricane Katia. Not significantly different from the flight path a couple weeks ago. – Nate Eldredge Sep 7 '17 at 5:00
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    If the airline were really worried, you'd know because they would issue a travel waiver, allowing you to reschedule without fee. Anyway, I'm not sure where you're getting 3 hurricanes - Katia is in the general vicinity, but Irma and Jose aren't forecast to get within several hundred miles of your route. – Nate Eldredge Sep 7 '17 at 5:05
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Consider:

  1. Weather en route is not a significant factor, the aircraft can simple fly around it, even major Hurricanes.
  2. What matters to you and the airline is weather conditions at the origin or destination airport. If the predicted conditions would allow the aircraft to takeoff or land, the flight will go.
  3. For predictable weather conditions, airlines will typically allow, or even encourage fee-free changes days in advance. For example, American opened their change window for Florida on Tuesday, 5 days ahead of Irma.
  4. In conditions such as in the current Caribbean, flights would not be delayed, they would be cancelled ahead of time.

If the airline cancels the flight and offers you a refund, take that option. If they cancel but the ticket is still non refundable and you decide not to go at all, then use your insurance.

Source: Experience, many times. Downvotes without comment are just unhelpful.

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