Welcome to the beginning of the busy season. Although weather is often better than the winter, overall there are more people traveling so a mechanical or weather day is not as easily absorbed.
Just remember to be flexible and don’t take it out on the gate agent if you are not accommodated on the next flight. A lot of reassigning for cancelled or delayed flights is done by the computer and elite and higher ticket class passengers are usually prioritized over leisure travelers on fare classes. The gate agent may have some leeway, but you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.
For weather delays airlines will not typically give hotel vouchers or reaccommodate you on another airline, only their own. For mechanical delays most legacy carriers can reaccommodate you on another carrier but they may not always do that as a routine. I’m lucky since I live in a hub city and often fly on the carrier that isn’t hubbed. A couple years ago I was in IND flying Delta. There was a mechanical issue on the plane in ATL and it hadn’t left there even though it was almost time to for my flight to leave. The red coat called me up to the ticket counter and had rebooked me, a lowly Gold, on the direct to CLT on US Airways. I was the only one paged up so I assume most of the other status flyers were going directly to ATL.
This can also be a good time to begin trying for bumps. Although capacity seems higher than a few years ago, planes are still very full which can lead to bumps (being given a voucher and a seat on a later flight in exchange for your seat). As a personal policy, I do not take bumps on business trips, but for those of you on personal trips there are people who used to be able to take a trip and get a few bumps and pay for subsequent trips. I haven’t heard as many bump opportunities in the past year as I did back in 2010, but if you research and find a good rate on a full flight it could be lucrative…especially if you can bump a few times.
My next big personal trip isn’t until Labor Day weekend, but for those of you taking a vacation this summer I wish you safe travels.