Here we are, caught in what seems to be an endless series of major storms sweeping across the United States disrupting our best laid travel plans. In the past 6 weeks, we have seen 6 major storms pummel the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard. They have caused closures of major airports from Boston to Atlanta to Dallas Ft. Worth and thousands of flights to be canceled or delayed. What is a traveler to do to avoid these issues? If they are unavoidable, how do you minimize their impact?
First: to avoid them as much as possible, fly nonstop and early in the day. This will reduce the chances of something going awry, especially if you are flying out of a hub city. Airlines have more aircraft and crews at a hub than elsewhere in their system. Unless the hub is shut down or heavily impacted by the storm, your aircraft and flight crew is likely to be there, ready to go.
Second: if you have to connect, pick airports that have better track records for operating year round. Examples would be Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Memphis and even Dallas Ft. Worth. These cities by virtue of their geographic location tend not to shut down or suffer from major delays as often as airports that are located in the Upper Midwest.
Third: try not to schedule your flights for Sunday night/Monday mornings or Friday afternoon. Fewer travelers fly on other days of the week and so there is less competition for the seats on the aircraft that are actually flying.
Fourth: remain flexible. If you are in New York City and a major snowstorm hits, check to see how far south the storm’s impact is being felt. If it isn’t impacting Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington, take the train from New York to one of these cities and fly out of their airport. If all of the airports along the Eastern Seaboard are closed or seriously impacted, consider taking the train to a point west, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Chicago and fly from there. Yes, it will cost you some time. However, it shouldn’t take as long as a couple of days stuck in NYC while the airlines work through the backlog of passengers.
If you find that you have already arrived at your destination and then the storm hits shutting everything down, call your agent at Christopherson Business Travel. Ask your agent to find and book you a room as quickly as possible. Rooms go quickly and those that wait tend to find themselves sleeping at the airport. One big advantage of using Christopherson Business Travel is we are an affiliate of BCD and participate in their hotel program. This gets us special rates and last room availability at over 2000 hotels worldwide.
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid having your travel plans impacted by winter weather. The agents at Christopherson Business Travel are only a phone call or email away and will be happy to use their extensive experience to help you get where you need to be.