Does Rain Delay Flights? - Traveloons (2023)

We have all been there. You are sitting in the airport, waiting for your flight, when you hear the announcement that it has been delayed due to weather. And, of course, it is always raining outside. It seems like every time a flight is delayed, it is because of rain. But is this really the case? Does rain really delay flights?

Let’s take a closer look at the impact of rain on flight delays and what you can do to avoid being impacted by weather-related delays.

Does Rain Delay Flights?

Does Rain Delay Flights? - Traveloons (1)

According to the FAA, inclement weather is the largest cause of flight delays. Bad weather conditions cause nearly 70 percent of flight delays. And of those weather-related delays, rain is the most common culprit. So, yes, rain can delay flights.

Other weather conditions, such as severe thunderstorms, snow, and ice, can cause delays. In fact, any type of severe weather can impact airport operations and cause delays.

Read this article to know what kinds of weather delay flights!

Why Does Rain Delay Flights?

There are a few reasons why rain could delay flights:

  • First, heavy rain can impact visibility at the airport.
  • Second, rain can make the runway slippery, which can again impact safety.
  • And finally, heavy rain can lead to flooding, which can close down the airport entirely.

Of course, not all rain delays are caused by bad weather. Sometimes, flights are delayed simply because the plane is not able to take off in the rain.

The water on the runway can make it difficult for the plane to gain enough speed to take off. In these cases, the plane may have to wait for the rain to let up before it can take off.

However, there are a few ways that rain can delay flights.

For example, if the runway is wet, it might need to be closed for some time so that it can be cleaned and dried off.

This can cause delays for flights that are scheduled to take off or land during that time.

In addition, heavy rains can lead to low visibility, making it difficult for pilots to land the plane safely. Finally, an airport might close entirely until the conditions improve if the weather is really bad.

Do Flights Get Canceled For Rain?

Although flights get canceled for rain, it is rare for the same to happen. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict regulations regarding airstrip conditions and aircraft operation in inclement weather. So, while bad weather can cause delays, it is very unlikely to result in cancellation.

That being said, there are certain conditions that can make flying in the rain unsafe.

For example, if visibility is low or if thunderstorms are in the area, it may not be possible to take off or land. In these cases, airlines will often cancel flights as a precautionary measure.

However, if the weather is just rainy, there is no need to worry about your flight being canceled.

Now, let’s look at another situation, where it’s all cloudy and too windy but there’s no rain. Can too strong winds lead to flight cancellation and delays? And, how bad do winds have to be to cancel flights? Read this article to find out!

How Much Rain Can Ground A Plane?

Most commercial airplanes can take off in less than 10,000 feet, which is about two-thirds of a mile. But that same plane would need almost twice as much runway if it were trying to land in the rain and thunderstorms or similar conditions.

That’s because water on the runway makes it more difficult for the tires to gain traction and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning happens when a film of water builds up between the tires and the pavement, causing the tires to lose contact with the ground. As a result, high speeds can cause the plane to lose control and skid off the runway.

In order to land safely in wet conditions, pilots must slow down and increase their landing speed. This gives the plane time to touch down gently and avoid any sudden jolts that could cause it to lose control.

As a result of these precautions, most planes are able to take off and land safely in light rain.

However, heavy rain can still pose a serious challenge for pilots, and it may eventually ground a plane if the conditions become too treacherous.

However, there is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the type of plane, the weather conditions, and the runway.

Regardless, planes can take off in light rain but may have difficulty taking off in heavy rain. If the weather is too severe, the airport may be closed.

Is It Safe To Fly When It’s Raining?

The answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask, but flying in the rain is generally perfectly safe. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as visibility and turbulence while the flight takes off.

  • Visibility is obviously reduced when it rains, so pilots have to be extra careful. They may need to rely more on instruments than usual, and they may need to fly at a lower altitude.
  • Turbulence can also be an issue in bad weather. However, most planes are designed to handle turbulence quite well, and pilots are trained to deal with it. So while it may not be the most comfortable experience, it’s not necessarily dangerous.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, if a storm is severe enough, it may be unsafe to fly. But in general, flying in the rain is perfectly safe.

Below we have presented a tabular summary representing various conditions related to rain and whether planes can fly in such conditions:

Can planes fly inYes/No
Light RainYes
Heavy RainNo
Strong WindsNo
Light/Moderate Winds (less than 20 knots)Yes
Light FogYes
Heavy FogNo
Low CloudsDepends
Eye of the stormNo

Are Bigger Planes Safer In The Rain?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Some believe that bigger planes are safer in the rain because they are less likely to be affected by turbulence. Others believe smaller planes are better in the rain because they can land/take off quicklyin bad weather.

Ultimately, it depends on the situation and the plane itself.

How Dangerous Is It For Planes To Fly In The Rain?

Traveling by plane is one of the safest methods of travel available and the US has an average of only 0.07 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. Yes, bad weather can still pose a threat to flights. However, light to moderate rain poses little to no threat to flight mid-air.

On the other hand, heavy rain can make it difficult for pilots to see the runway and lead to engine failure. As a result, many airlines will avoid flying in severe weather conditions.

With modern technology and experienced pilots, the risk is usually low with light rain, as mentioned above.

However, it is always important to check the weather conditions before travel and to follow any safety instructions from the airline.

Is It Safer To Fly At Night Or Day During Rain?

Some may say it is safer to fly at night because there is less traffic and better visibility. Others may say that it is safer to fly during the day because you can see the storms coming. Ultimately, it depends on the situation.

Why Do Planes Drop Suddenly In Rain?

When rain falls, it creates drag on the plane. This drag can cause the plane to lose lift and eventually stall. Stall warnings are usually sounded in the cockpit when this happens. Sometimes, the plane may drop suddenly before the pilot has a chance to react.

This can be extremely unnerving for passengers, but it is not necessarily dangerous. The plane will usually recover from the stall or dropping and continue flying normally.

Do Thunderstorms Delay Flights?

Does Rain Delay Flights? - Traveloons (2)

Yes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, thunderstorms are one of the most significant weather hazards to aviation. They can cause turbulence, wind shear, hail, lightning, and heavy rain which in turn can delay flights. All of these can pose serious threats to aircraft and passengers alike.

Thunderstorms often form along cold front boundaries. When a cold front approaches an area of warm, moist air, the warm air rises quickly and condenses into clouds. The updrafts created by this rising air can be strong enough to form cumulonimbus clouds, which are large thunderheads that can extend several miles into the atmosphere. As these thunderstorms grow and mature, they can produce strong winds, heavy rain, hail, and lightning.

While thunderstorms can occur at any time of year, they are most common in the spring and summer months.

This is due to the fact that warm air rises more quickly than cold air, making it easier for thunderstorms to form. In the United States, the majority of thunderstorms occur in the afternoon and evening hours.

Thunderstorms can have a significant impact on aviation. They can cause delays and cancellations of flights, as well as diversions to alternate airports. For these reasons, it is important for pilots to be aware of thunderstorms in the area and to have a plan for dealing with them.

There are several ways to avoid thunderstorms while flying (for the pilot). The best way is to avoid them altogether by:

  • Planning flights around areas of known thunderstorm activity. This can be done by checking weather reports before departure and en route, as well as using weather radar.
  • Another way to avoid thunderstorms is to fly at high altitudes, where they are less likely to form. However, this is not always possible, and pilots must be prepared to deal with thunderstorms if they encounter them.
  • If a pilot does find themselves in a thunderstorm, the best course of action is to fly around it. Thunderstorms can extend several miles from the center of the storm, so it is important to give them a wide berth. Flying through a thunderstorm can be extremely dangerous and should only be done in an emergency situation.

Why Can’t Planes Fly In Thunderstorms?

Thunderstorms create severe turbulence, strong downdrafts, and heavy rain or hail. Lightning is also a major concern during thunderstorms. If a plane is hit by lightning, it can cause damage to the aircraft and may even start a fire on board which is why planes usually can’t fly in thunderstorms.

While planes are designed to withstand being struck by lightning, it is still a potentially hazardous situation.

Another danger of flying in thunderstorms is the potential for ice to form on the plane’s wings. This can disrupt lift and make it difficult for the plane to stay airborne.

This brings up the question: Is frost hazardous for flights too? Let’s find out in this post!

Do Planes Fly In Lightning?

Does Rain Delay Flights? - Traveloons (3)

No, planes cannot fly in lightning. Lightning is a powerful electrostatic discharge that can damage an aircraft’s electrical systems. For this reason, pilots avoid flying in thunderstorms to avoid any lethal consequences that can endanger the livers of both the crew and the passengers.

Can Planes Fly Over Tropical Storms?

Yes, planes can fly over tropical storms. However, flying over the center of a tropical storm can be extremely dangerous due to turbulence and strong winds. As long as the flight is outside the storm’s eye and outer rainbands, it should be safe to fly over such storms.

Do Airlines Refund Money If the Flight Gets Cancelled or Delayed Due to Rain?

The answer to this question depends on the airline. When bad weather hits, airlines are often forced to cancel or delay flights. And while most airlines will offer to rebook passengers on another flight, they’re not required to offer a refund if the weather is to blame.

However, there are a few important exceptions. If the delay or cancellation is due to a mechanical issue, the airline must provide a refund. Additionally, if the flight is part of a package deal, the tour operator may be required to offer a refund.

And in some cases, airlines may proactively cancel flights due to an impending storm and offer customers the option to receive a refund.

Thus, if you’re wondering whether you can get your money back if your flight is canceled due to weather, it’s always worth asking the airline staff and support.

Long answer short, some airlines may refund your ticket if the flight is canceled due to weather or rain, while others may only offer a voucher for a future flight.

If your flight is delayed due to weather, most airlines will allow you to change your flight without penalty.


Can A Plane Crash From Turbulence?

Turbulence is one of the leading causes of airplane accidents, although it is very rare for turbulence to actually cause a plane to crash. Most turbulence-related accidents occur when the plane encounters severe clear air turbulence, which can often be impossible to avoid.

What Happens If A Plane Window Breaks?

If a plane window breaks, the cabin will lose pressure, and the airplane will have to make an emergency landing. There can also be serious injuries if people are sitting near the window when it breaks.

Why Are Some Flights Delayed Or Canceled Due To Bad Weather But Not Others?

This usually depends on the different types of aircraft that airlines use. For example, smaller planes are more likely to be delayed or canceled because they can’t fly as well in bad weather such as heavy rains as larger planes that can better resist turbulence and other facets.

Can Flights Fly in Low Clouds?

Yes, flights can fly in low clouds, but it can be more difficult and dangerous. Low clouds can make it difficult for pilots to see the runway and other aircraft, and they can also cause turbulence. Thus, pilots often steer clear of flying in the low clouds.

Can Planes Fly In Light Rain?

Yes, planes can fly in light rain. Many pilots prefer to fly in light rain because it isn’t as turbulent as heavier rain. Therefore, as long as light rain is not accompanied by too strong winds or low visibility, planes do fly in light rain.

Can Planes Land In The Rain?

Planes can take off and land in light rain. The reason is that the air underneath its wings supports most of a plane’s weight. When it rains, the raindrops simply fall through the air, without significantly impacting the plane’s ability to fly.

Of course, heavy rain can create turbulence and visibility problems, making it unsafe for planes to travel.

For this reason, most airlines will avoid flying in severe weather conditions. However, light rain should not pose a problem for experienced pilots.

However, pilots have to be extra careful when landing in bad weather. They may need to rely more on instruments than usual, and they may need to land at a lower altitude.

Can Flights Fly In Fog?

Fog can make it difficult for pilots to see the runway and other aircraft, so it is usually not safe for flights to take off or land in fog. However, some planes are equipped with special radar that helps them to safely fly in foggy conditions.

Can Flights Fly In Strong Winds?

Strong winds can make it difficult for planes to take off and land, but most planes can safely fly in moderate winds. However, very strong winds can be dangerous for planes and can cause turbulence. It also depends on the airline and the type of aircraft being used.

What Type of Weathers Delay Planes?

Many types of weather can delay or cancel flights, including strong winds, low clouds, fog, and turbulence. During summer -April to September, delays are at their peak. More than 40% of flight delay affecting airport arrivals is due to rainstorms.

Low C&V conditions cause 30% percent delays, airport winds create 20% delays, and “other” account stands for 10% of summer delays.

Read this post to learn more about this!

Which Airlines Delay Flights For Rain?

All airlines may delay flights for rain, depending on the storm’s severity. If a storm is severe enough, it may be unsafe to fly. So all airlines have different policies regarding flying in bad weather. However, flying in the rain is generally safe.

However, a few things to keep in mind, such as visibility and turbulence. And, of course, if a storm is severe enough, it may be unsafe to fly. So always check with your airline before flying in bad weather.

Can Planes Fly In Freezing Weather?

Yes, planes can take off and land in freezing weather, but ice on the wings can reduce lift and increase drag. To prevent this, airlines de-ice their planes before takeoff. Cold weather can also delay flights due to ground icing (ice on the runway) and low visibility.

Can Cold Weather Delay Flights?

Yes, cold weather can delay flights due to ground icing (ice on the runway) and low visibility. In some cases, planes may need to be de-iced before takeoff because otherwise may result in a reduction of lift and an increase in drag which can potentially lead to crashing.

Can Planes Take Off In Sleet?

Yes, planes can take off in sleet, but the runway must be cleared of any ice or snow. Sleet can create a layer of ice on the wings, which can reduce lift and increase drag. Therefore ice must be cleared during the flight’s take off.

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