Top Reasons why Flights Cancel

Bonus: Jetting Julia's Video Presentation

Hello fellow flyers, I’m Julia, a US-based flight attendant who is here to explain to you in this article the top reasons why your flight canceled! Although it’s frustrating for passengers and crew members flights don’t cancel without good reason. 


From my experience as a flight attendant, the most common reason for a flight to cancel is bad weather. This can include thunderstorms, blizzards, and strong winds that end up keeping your plane from taking flight. The issue with weather is how unpredictable it can be. It’s also important to keep in mind that the weather at your destination as well as the flight route to get there can have a huge impact on your flight as well. In my opinion, it is much better to be safe and remains grounded than take the risk of flying through a storm. 

Bad weather
Thunderstorm. Photo: CaptainJetson.com.

Thunderstorms can also cause what is called ground stops at the airport. A ground stop is where air traffic control stops or slows down the flow of inbound and outbound aircraft from a specific airport. If a ground stop is too long and is deemed unsafe to land an aircraft there then flights begin diverting to nearby airports. Ground stops are also implemented to help our fellow ramp workers, caterers, and luggage handlers out on the tarmac stay safe during a storm. 


Mechanical flight cancellation
B757 preflight. Photo: CaptainJetson.com.

Airplanes are multi-million dollar machines but that doesn’t exempt them from having mechanical issues. This is another large reason why flights will often delay or cancel. These issues can be large such as a faulty engine or small such as a broken tray table. A flight will not cancel for such a small issue though. As a flight attendant, I trust our mechanics and would not want to take the risk of flying on an unsafe aircraft. If a plane is deemed unsafe to fly the company will do its best to find the passengers a new safe plane to take to their destination. 


This is probably the most frustrating delay/cancellation reasons for paying passengers.

Unfortunately when an airport is dealing with large issues as a whole (such as a thunderstorm) things can go haywire. When an airport is experiencing vast rolling delays, the crews who are scheduled to work those flights are still on duty.

Flight Attendant and Pilot Crew duty time
Pilots and Flight Attendants. Photo: CaptainJetson.com.

We (pilots and flight attendants) have a maximum duty day time limit that we are required to stay under per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is to keep your flight crew safe by preventing fatigue on the job.

If these delays keep rolling to the point of a crew timing out the next step for the company is to call in the reserve flight attendants. However, during these circumstances, the airline can run out of reserve fight attendants (I have seen this happen). Without an adequate number of crew members to work your flight (FAA requires one flight attendant per 50 seats on an aircraft), your flight will likely cancel. 

Top reasons why flights cancel are often unforeseen occurrences

Reasons why flights cancel, traffic
On a taxiway with parking brake set during a delay. Photo: CaptainJetson.com.

Let’s face it, canceled flights are not fun. However, as you can see there are a few different reasons why your flight might cancel! I hope you all enjoyed reading this article, you can also find my YouTube video about canceled flights here too! 

About the Author, Jetting Julia

Flight Attendant Jetting Julia, YouTube influencer
Julia Ross is a flight attendant for a major US airline. She has been in the airline industry for two years and loves to share her experiences through her YouTube channel Jetting Julia.

Featured Image: At the jet bridge. CaptainJetson.com

Have you read our other Flight Attendant stories here?

  • Do You Like What You're Reading?

    Get the latest Airline, Aviation & Travel News from CaptainJetson delivered to your mailbox, 100% free.

  • Your email address will be kept safe and sound with our email provider, MailChimp.

Show More
Back to top button