How will Winter Storm Stella affect your upcoming travels for next week? Track flight weather and delays at MyFlight Forecast #winterstorm #stella #winterstormstella #weather #travel #snowday
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The Northeastern United States will encounter a fast moving winter storm, recently named “Niko”. Areas of New Jersey all the way through Boston will have varying depths of snow, with some areas bringing in over a foot. If you will be traveling within the next few days, stay on top of the storms track and progress at Storm Track Radar, and monitor airport delays at Airport Delays.
You’ve seen the nightmare news reports. One or two major storms. Thousands of flights cancelled or delayed. Thousands of people stranded in airports. You can’t control the weather. But there are things you can do by planning ahead to make weather delays less painful when you fly. Following a few simple tips can mean the difference between being miserable with the masses or being prepared like the pros.
1. Plan extra layover time.
Oftentimes, you’ll pick the flight with the shortest layover time to reduce the overall length of your travel day. When everything can be expected to run smoothly, that’s not a bad strategy. During those months when poor weather is expected on your route or in your travel region, though, having a three to four hour layover may give you piece of mind if it’s possible the flight into your layover airport may be delayed. And keep in mind, just because your departure airport has blue skies and mild winds doesn’t mean your departure can’t be delayed. Your aircraft likely had to fly in from somewhere, and if it flew in from somewhere experiencing a winter storm, it could still be in the air, or worse on the ground elsewhere, when you are scheduled to take off.
2. Pack overnight essentials in your carry on.
Even though many savvy flyers these days fly with only what they can fit into the overhead compartment, most flyers check a large piece and carry on a small bag. Along with your mobile devices, snacks and magazines, pack your carry on bag with what you’ll need if you have to check into a motel or spend an extended time at the airport. If your flight is cancelled outright without an immediate rebooking, or for the next day, airlines will return your checked bag. But if you are rebooked that day, they won’t. They’ll transfer your bag to the rebooked aircraft. Ten, 12, 14 or more hours is a long time to go without a toothbrush and clean socks. Some travelers may opt to just leave the airport and get some rest at a nearby hotel. Having overnight essentials makes this all less stressful and far less exhausting.
3. Be careful about booking a flight that is a “first departure” from the airport in the morning.
Now this one really depends on your departure airport and takes some paying attention to. Many, particularly small, airports located in winter storm prone areas experience higher instances of cancellations of the first flight out of the day. Why? Because the first airplane out in the morning was likely the last plane in the night before. If weather prevented it from flying in the night before, the airline will cancel the morning flight rather than ferry in an empty plane.
4. Be careful about booking a “last flight of the night” flight into your final destination.
This is the same concept as above, only in reverse. If your final destination is a small airport and storms may impact the last flight in for the night, you very well may find yourself spending the night in your layover town instead of home.
5 If you can, give yourself extra days on the inbound leg of your trip to not disrupt your plans.
Say you’re flying from New York to Miami to catch that New Year’s cruise. You’re due into Miami Airport Monday night and your ship sails on Tuesday morning. But you can’t get out of New York on Monday due to weather and your ship sails without you. Pad your departure by a day or even two to be sure you’re where you want to be when you want to be there.
6. Invest a few bucks in travel insurance.
Most on-line booking sites offer you travel insurance when you purchase your ticket. It doesn’t cost much, but like most other insurance, it’s great to have when you need it. An airline is legally bound to provide some compensation for delays, cancellations or disruptions caused by something under their control, like mechanical issues. Not so with weather. Travel insurance is your only way to get back what the weather cost you.
Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) will be closed indefinitely due to a security breach. Check with your airlines for flight delays, and remember, even though you may not be flying to or from FLL, your flight may still be delayed.
You Asked, we listened – MyFlight Forecast is now happy to have its customized “Turbulence Index” available to all of our guests. In a rush, and just want to have a general idea as to what your turbulence conditions will be? Well now you can take a quick look and have a general idea as to what your flight conditions will be like.
Would you like to have emails sent to you prior to your departure with the Turbulence Index? We can do that too!
Check out the turbulence index now at MyFlight Forecast
Flights get delayed. It’s a fact of travel life, and it’s happened to everyone. Some delays are minutes, some hours. If your delay is hours, don’t sit bored and brooding. Airports realized long ago that delayed passengers want something to keep them occupied. Larger airports have more amenities, but even smaller airports can offer fun things to do while you wait. Hop onto their website, or better yet, some even have apps.Make the most out of it and have fun.
Just about every airport has shopping. In many, it’s much more than just single pack aspirin, local souvenirs and newspapers. Books, jewelry, high end clothing and accessories, specialty food, health and beauty. If it’s in the mall, chances are, it’s in an airport, somewhere. So you can’t afford a $500 designer hand bag? Window shop just for fun.
That’s right, dine. You don’t have to grab and dash a cellophane-wrapped sandwich. You’ll find chain eateries you recognize, but you may also find locally inspired fine dining establishments. Be adventurous. Try the local cuisine. Let your wait staff know you have time and enjoy a leisurely meal.
3. Treat Yourself to a Mini-Spa Experience
A popular trend at airports these days is the spa experience. Most airport spas offer express treatments like manicures, pedicures and massages in as little as 15 minutes. But if you have the time, pamper yourself. You might even find a hair salon. Who wouldn’t want to step off the plane looking like a million bucks?
If you’re traveling with little ones, you may have already built extra time in your airport layover. A lengthy delay on top of that could spell toddler meltdown. Scope out the many play zones now finding their way into most airports. They usually have an aviation theme, with cartoon-like airplanes to climb on and activities to bring on the fun.
5. Take in the Artwork
Art in airports is no longer a trend. Many larger airports have staff curators and fully-fledged on-site museums. Others just make use of available space for interesting displays. Some art is local; other exhibitions are rotated with visual arts from around the world, and are as museum quality as you’d find in the finest world class art, natural history or science and technology galleries. See if your airport has an app or a map to help you find the works.
6. Get Connected
You’d be hard pressed to find an airport without public access Wi-Fi. Some are free, some require a fee. Get caught up on emails, update your social media, catch up on work, or watch a movie. Many airports now have charging stations in central locations and some even have power outlets with various types of electronic ports at every boarding lounge seat.
7. Get Right Out of the Airport
Depending on where you are stranded and how far away you are from the city, an adventure out of the airport may be the ticket for fun. Virtually every large and medium-hub airport is in proximity to a metropolitan area, and that means sights. Take a cab or check out the airport website to see if they have links to local day trips.
8. Get Your Yoga
If you’re thinking downward dog and child’s pose are just what you need to de-stress from missing a connection, seek out a yoga center. They are becoming more and more popular in many airports.
9. Snooze Through Your Delay in a Private Sleeping Room
Private sleeping and relaxation rooms are available in many airports. They’re compact and cozy, and best of all, private and far more comfortable than public seating.
10. Make New Friends
So, 1 through 9 don’t appeal to you, or it’s not in your airport, or you’ve done it and still have time to spare? You might not be the only one with time to kill. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. Buy a deck of cards and get a round of poker going. Chat with someone about the books you both brought along for the ride. People are people, no matter where you are.
Stay on top of your flight status now!