Watch CBS News

Higher temperatures, more turbulence: How the heat impacts your flight plans

Heat and flights
Heat and flights 02:03

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Travelers have been suffering through a record number of flight delays this summer and while one reason for delays is a shortage of flight crews but there is another reason for those delays and it's climate change. 

Indeed, severe weather events linked to climate change are proving to be a challenge for airlines across the globe. 


Rising smoke from Canadian wildfires can wreak havoc on planes' navigation systems that are not designed to go through smoke. 

Then increased heat across the planet causes planes to experience more turbulence or even have to rework flight patterns. 

"Really high heat actually can cause delays because a plane in high temperatures needs more time and more distance to take off, to fight gravity," said Amanda Hoover of Wired. "So some airports have really long runways and might be able to accommodate this, but in really, really high temperatures, we're talking like above a hundred degrees where we've seen the Southwest really battling this for the entire month of July."

The bottom line is passengers should prepare for more turbulence in the air. 

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers will also have to adapt in the months and even years to come but this will not be fixed by your August vacation. 

So, what can you do if your flight is delayed or canceled? Experts have said to know your rights as a passenger and know what your airline's policy is for delays and cancellations. 

Lastly, trip insurance is never a bad idea. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.