What to Do When Weather Intervenes: 3 Tips for Wintertime Travel

By Paul Riegler on 6 January 2016
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Simultaneous with T-shirt weather in New York City on Christmas Eve when confused tulips were surfacing, a major snowstorm was brewing in the southwestern United States, and a multi-day siege of deadly tornadoes and flooding struck parts of the Midwest and South.

It was not a good week to travel, especially when one factors in the number of people on the road and in the skies for the holiday. Moreover, weather with headlines such as “Tornados, Storms Pummel Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas“ and “Texas under Siege: Tornadoes, Flooding, Snow and Ice” have become far more common in the past few years than in prior decades and that means that winter travel is now a greater challenge.

While there’s little one can do to prevent Mother Nature from interfering with travel plans, there are steps that will lessen weather’s impact.

An American Airlines A321T preparing for departure - will it stay or will it go?

An American Airlines A321T preparing for departure – will it stay or will it go?

Here are three tips that, while they won’t change the weather, will help you navigate the storm safely:

1.)       Check weather forecasts – repeatedly. If you learn that a major storm is on the horizon, consider postponing or cancelling your trip. It’s only common sense.

2.)       Pack for Siberia – and Florida – and the office. Many people see a vacation as a time to leave laptops and work behind, but that sense of freedom quickly disappears when a three-day stay in paradise extends into the work week. While you should already be checking the forecasts continually, packing for every possible eventuality will ensure you are ready for whatever comes your way.

3.)       Don’t get in line with everyone else at the airport if your flight is cancelled or delayed. If already at the airport and your flight is cancelled, don’t get in line with everyone else. Oftentimes I’ve found myself on a plane taxiing back to the gate we had just left and already on the phone with my airline’s call center for higher status customers, in order to rebook on a more promising routing. If there is weather en route, fire up your laptop or smartphone. While everyone else is queued on line, you might be able to reroute yourself in minutes. Finally, if the airport is shut down, there’s only one place to go: the lounge. Get there quickly, as it will fill up and airlines will begin to limit access, regardless of status or membership type.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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