For a second day, the winter storm on the East Coast is paralyzing travelers across the country. Airports are shutdown with flights canceled from Atlanta to Maine.
Speaking from experience, it can take days to get the airports and all the affected flights back on track. It can be terribly frustrating to have your trip plans altered but here’s my best advice if it is happening to you.
There are tens of thousands of people competing for the next available seat on the flights that are leaving. So what do you do if you are traveling this week?
1. Call your airline to check the status of your flight as many flights are cancelled to the East Coast and/or are delayed because flights to other cities in the U.S. are waiting for aircraft that may be stuck in the Northeast.
2. If your flight has been cancelled, get in line to begin the process of rebooking the next available flight. While you are in line, CALL your airline for the same purpose and see which “line” gets you to your desired result faster. Also, consider rescheduling your trip for another week, if at all possible. You can use the value of your ticket for another day IF your flight was cancelled not just merely delayed.
3. Consider flying in and out of a different airport. If flights to your home airport are unavailable for days, you may be able to fly sooner to a different airport and then drive to your home. Let the airline representative know if you are flexible.
5. Most hotels that may be expecting you will understand the impact the storm is having on your travels. It’s best to call them as soon as possible to alert them to your situation and to help you discern the best plan for either delaying or rescheduling your trip.
6. If you are currently at a hotel, check for additional night availability BEFORE you check out. If your flights are cancelled en route to your destination call ahead to your hotel to ensure that you are not charged for your cancellation. The more notice that you give the hotel the better they will be about re-accommodating you at a later time. Call 1-800-2-HOTELS to work with a hotels.com representative for any winter storm affected bookings.
Most importantly, be as flexible as you can. Here are a few more of my tips for traveling during a weather event.
Send me a tweet at twitter.com/travelnicole with any of your weather travel questions!