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Flying Through Thunderstorms: Can Planes Fly Through Thunderstorms Safely?


One of the most hazardous weather conditions that pilots may experience is a thunderstorm. They have strong downdrafts and updates that can easily take an airplane out of the sky. Imagine that you have a flight schedule for the following morning and that you have recently learned from the news that there may be Can planes fly in thunderstorms at the Sky.

Will the airline cancel your flight? Can planes fly in a thunderstorm? We hope this blog helps you be well-informed before your flight by providing comprehensive information on the factors that determine whether an aircraft can fly during a thunderstorm.


Can Planes fly in a Thunderstorm?

Flying during a thunderstorm is possible. However, there are a lot of things to take into account when choosing the aircraft’s alternate route and the procedures for take-off and arrival. So, there are some factors experts consider before allowing a plane to fly during a storm.

  • Runway Conditions:

It is the most common cause of flight delays or cancellations. It is not advisable to take off or land if the weather is unstable where you are going to be landing. Passengers may have to wait for safer traveling conditions to prevail if a storm is in full force.

  • Storm Intensity: 

It also depends on the storm’s intensity. You almost certainly will not run into any problems if it is pouring rain but nothing too severe. However, you probably will not want to take off from the runway if you are expecting several inches of rain in an hour. Strong winds, hail, or worse could also be present. 

  • Wind Shear:

Wind shear is a rapid shift in air velocity or direction. It is another important reason why your planes might not fly during thunderstorms and is highly common during thunderstorms.

  • Size:

The width or length of the storm is one of the most crucial factors to consider when deciding whether an aircraft can fly in a thunderstorm. Planes typically avoid large storms by a minimum of 20 miles. If an alternative route is available, it will be selected, even with a slightly longer travel time for the passengers. 

  • Lightning:

Although it may be the most visually stunning phenomenon, airplanes are not too bothered by it. In addition to protecting passengers from shock, an airplane serves as a Faraday cage, allowing lightning strikes to pass through one ear and out the other with little to no harm to the aircraft itself. 

  • Turbulence:

Aircraft should never fly in a storm when there are abrupt or harsh air movements. These variations in pressure and severity have the potential to propel an aircraft around like a toy for kids, depriving the pilot of the control required to operate the aircraft safely and maintain passenger comfort.

  • Hail:

Hailstorms can be extremely distracting when flying through a thunderstorm and can damage the outside of the aircraft, the windows, and other parts of it.

Rescheduling Of Flights

Thunderstorms can significantly affect airline schedules. When faced with such weather, airlines usually reschedule flights for several reasons.

  • Safety Concerns: Turbulence, lightning, and strong winds are some of the dangerous flying conditions that thunderstorms can produce. To protect the crew and passengers, pilots and airlines must steer clear of these circumstances.
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) Restrictions: To manage crowded airspace and reduce weather-related risks, ATC may enforce ground stops or reroute flights. Rescheduling may be necessary as a result of delays. 
  • Airport Operations: Thunderstorms have the potential to interfere with visibility and the ground crew’s ability to safely handle baggage, fuel aircraft, and carry out essential tasks.

When thunderstorms force airlines to reschedule flights, they usually:

  • Notify Passengers: Airlines use email, SMS, and their mobile apps to inform passengers of delays, cancellations, and rescheduled flights.
  • Offer Rebooking Options: Passengers usually have the option to rebook on the next available flight at no additional cost. Or, in some cases, on a different route that bypasses the weather issue. 
  • Issue Refunds or Credits: If a flight is cancelled and the passenger chooses not to rebook, airlines often offer refunds or travel credits.

For the most up-to-date and accurate information, individuals who find themselves in such circumstances should visit the airline’s official website. And also, get in touch with customer service.


In conclusion, what would happen if you booked a flight, say from San Francisco to Bangalore, and the weather unexpectedly worsened? Your safety and the outcome of your flight will be on your mind. Just have faith in your pilot’s and the airport personnel’s judgment, though.

Even though you may be disappointed that inclement weather has caused your flight to be delayed or cancelled. It is still a lot better than being in the air in a terrifying situation where your only options are to hold onto your hat and hope for the best. 

But do not worry; you will get to your destination without incident. So, visit MintFares, which provides you with all kinds of information about your flights.