By now everyone is aware there was a major winter storm that made its way through the northeast this past weekend, dumping large amounts of snow and disrupting travel plans. Storms of this magnitude grind all methods of travel to a halt.
So, what does one do when the threat of severe weather threatens one’s travel plans?
Plan ahead. As early as Thursday, one day before the storm was predicted to begin airlines had started rebooking passengers, trying to get as many passengers as possible on earlier flights to avoid being stranded over the weekend.
Travelers can keep up to date on flight delays and cancellations at flightaware.com. These days airlines try to stay ahead of storms by cancelling in advance. Airlines want to avoid having their passengers stuck on the runway, and their crews and planes stuck in one part of the country.
If you are stuck in an airport, plan ahead and have a few items of comfort available. Pack carry-on baggage wisely, including any medications or other necessities, smart phones and chargers, a lightweight blanket or a sweatshirt that can double as a pillow or cushion, a deck of cards. In short, pack for what might happen along the way. Think of what makes you comfortable enough, and have these items on hand. The good news is that airports provide access to food, water, and restrooms.
Remember the airlines are not obligated to put stranded travelers up in a hotel. If stranded travelers can get out of the airport and to a hotel, they will likely be responsible for the expense.
The last two major storms to hit the northeast, Hurricane Sandy, and winter storm 2013, the airlines waived the normal rebooking fees. This isn’t always the case.
This is a lesson in preparedness, be safe rather than sorry.