changes to circumstances. Who covers the cost?

I’m due to fly to Florida tomorrow evening for a 3 week sit. The HO messaged me this morning asking if I would arrive earlier (tomorrow AM) as there is a category 3 hurricane and the airport will likely cancel all flights that evening.

I contacted the airline I booked with and they are unable to change my flights until it is known that my flights will be affected. Therefor, I will need to book new flights in order to make it to Florida before the hurricane arrives. Who is responsible for the costs of the new flights? If it is the HO, any advice on how I broach this subject as she has not offered to pay for the changes. This is my first sit and I’m unsure as to whose responsibility it is and how to go about it. Thank you in advance

I would be upfront about it and explain what the airline told you: changing it will involve a cost. If they really want you to buy a new flight, I think they should pay for it, or at least go half/half.

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Hello @bb21g probably the best thing to say to the HOs is something along the lines of “I’ve called the airline and they’re unable to change the flight until more info is given on the incoming weather. If I take an earlier flight with them it will cost $$. If you are happy to cover the cost for that then I’m happy to come earlier for you and can arrange the flight. What would you like me to do?” Or similar and see what response comes. It’s not your cost to bear.


Whoever changes the circumstances.

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Well, if the hurricane does materialize, the HO won’t be going anywhere either.

BTW - It sounds like not only would a cost be incurred for the new flight to Florida (no need to change the departure), but also, depending on the original booking and fare level, you may lose the cost of that flight.

You might ask if the HO has a Plan B in place in case they are able to leave, but you can’t get there.


A Category 3 hurricane is serious. I wouldn’t be heading into a sit if one were expected. Personally, I’m not agreeing to do sits regardless of life and limb.

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I find that kind of thing interesting, but mostly for watching on the Weather Channel.

There will be power outages. Internet access will be gone.

I don’t know anybody there.

No, better not.

I used to work in news and we routinely sent crews into dangerous situations as part of their jobs. (I know a number of folks at the Weather Channel, because we worked together elsewhere.) But that work was what we all signed up for and we knew danger was part of it.

I’ve also lived through super typhoons, major earthquakes and such. But would I expect someone to knowingly head into what could be a disaster for a sit? NO.

BTW, if the sitter canceled and THS tried to press them into going anyway, they’d face huge legal risks if anything happened to the sitter.

If I were this sitter, I’d cancel the sit and let the airline offer me a refund or credit toward another trip later, if conditions do turn out to require airlines to stop flying. I’d risk eating the cost of airfare otherwise.

If it doesn’t turn out to be a major disaster, even mild storms can create lots of trouble. And it’s often harder for someone who’s a stranger to suddenly get help without a local network.

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If you do decide to go forward with the sit, this thread might be useful, in case:

And make sure you have a battery radio with you, with lots of spare batteries. Or one of those crank radios, with a torch.

I can’t believe either party is traveling to, from, or within Florida in a hurricane.

A word of advice… if you see Jim Cantore anywhere in the vicinity, TAKE SHELTER AT ONCE!! :rofl: (Poor guy. No one ever wants to see him in their town.)


LOL. We used to joke in newsrooms that we ran toward what others ran away from.

Yes, he will go:

@bb21g I would normally not advocate canceling sits, but in this case, if your sit is in the potential path of a category 3 storm, you really need to consider your own safety. Parts of Florida are being evacuated already. I am not sure where you would be in reference to the path, but storm paths do shift and areas deemed “safe” could be directly in the path within just a few hours. I am from New Orleans and lived there during the aftermath of Katrina ( but we evacuated early), so I always talk to my hosts on the frontend about emergency planning and ask what they would do if a storm was headed their way prior to the sit. I did one sit in New Orleans with a potential tropical storm several days away, but I had my own car, family and friends in the area and my host and I discussed a plan whereby I would evacuate with their cats and take them to my house if the storm became a hurricane. I am pretty shocked that your hosts are not postponing their vacation in order to secure their home and get themselves and their pets out of harms way. I know that hurricanes are unpredictable and i have evacuated my family in advance of storms that did not wind up hitting us, but I have never regretted doing that despite the upheaval and expense. By the time you are certain a hurricane is coming your way, it is often too late to evacuate and you are stuck riding out a dangerous storm. The other thing to consider is even if you were to get an earlier flight, you may be stuck without transportation to use for evacuating yourself and the pets if needed since you are flying. Be safe and good luck with your decision.


Sit tight and wait. If Idalia hits as forecasted, no one is going anywhere and if flights are cxld you will be offered credit/rebooking and some other compensation.
I am a Floridian, in Florida now, away from the forecasted path but no stranger to this.
Just wait @bb21g and the next step will be revealed.
Sorry you have had this come up but probably better before you arrive and have to deal with potential aftermath.


I am curious what you decided. I see that Idalia is not going away.

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I live in Florida. Last year I had sitters scheduled to come and then a hurricane developed. I was no where near the path of the storm, but, they were driving from Tennessee. They canceled their plans and I was totally fine with that, I then found someone in Florida to sit for me a few days later.

I wouldn’t pass judgement on the home owners, it could be that they are no where near the storm, but, with flights being disrupted, they just want to get out ahead of that. It doesn’t mean that they’re being careless with their home or pets.

Yesterday was my last day of a sit right on the Gulf of Mexico, west of Tampa. I was scheduled for another house sit just 20 minutes away, in the same county. The first sit owner returned and I moved on to the second sit. This was in a mobile home and there’s a mandatory evacuation for those kind of structures. I packed up the two cats and drove two hours to my niece’s house, well out of the way of the storm. If all goes well, we’ll be back in their home tomorrow evening. Those owners drove 3 hours south to sit for another family that had a flight today. It was quite the ‘domino’ effect.

Some of my family thought I should cancel on the sit and just evacuate myself. But, I feel so strongly about this kind of commitment, and, I never felt at all unsafe. When a hurricane is headed our way, it doesn’t mean the entire state is going to be a disaster area. While a hurricane is not entirely predictable, there is some degree of certainty. And, if you pay attention to the news and take appropriate action, you are likely able to fare just fine.

But, as a Floridian, I have more experience with this, and, I think you would be entirely within your rights to cancel this sit. A hurricane certainly falls into the category of ‘extraordinary circumstances.’


No way. Someone else’s problem does not come out of my pocket.

Changing a flight last minute to accommodate the homeowner should not be an expense that a sitter should incur. If the flight is rebooked, I can’t come up with any reason why the homeowner should not pay the difference.

Make sure you keep all conversation logged on the TH chat interface, so that you have records of the correspondence. If they don’t do that, you can always screen capture it and post it as a picture and then reply to that on the website.

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