During the winter, air travel can be unpredictable. The weather can lead to a delay or cancellation of your flight, and if you’re not prepared, this can put a damper on your vacation. Here are a few rules to remember when you’re flying in the winter:
1) Don’t make a tight schedule
Remember that there is always a possibility for delays and cancellations, especially in bad weather. If you’re arrival time is extremely important, such as a can’t-miss meeting, a secondary departure or an important celebration, make sure you allow for any air travel snarls that could occur. This could even mean travelling a full day early. The minimum amount of time for recovering from delays is several extra hours, so an extra day is certainly a possibility.
2) Check the weather
If you want to predict delays before your airline officially tells you about them, make sure to stay up-to-date on weather forecasts. You’ll want to keep tabs on the weather several days in advance, and make sure you check the weather at the location of every airport you plan you use, whether for a departure, a destination or a layover. Check inbound arrivals at any airport where you plan to have an early-morning departure. If your plane is unable to get in the night before, it won’t be at the airport for your morning departure. To check the weather frequently, consider getting a mobile app for this purpose.
3) Book early flights
As much as we’d all like to get better sleep, booking an early morning flight will help you avoid travel issues. The earlier your flight, the less likely your flight is to be affected by issues at other airports. Getting this early start will also give you more opportunity to find a different flight for the same day in the event that your flight is canceled or delayed. If you start your travels later in the day, delays or cancellations may mean that you have to stay in a hotel overnight.
4) Try to book direct flights
Booking a direct flight will prevent any connection issues that you may have due to delays. Even if you notice that most flights from the airport nearest you require connection, you should think about driving to another airport a few hours away so you can get to your destination in one flight.
5) Avoid problem hubs
If you can’t avoid having a layover, try and make sure you aren’t going through a hub that will encounter severe winter weather. In the first quarter of the year, the lowest percentages of late arrivals occur in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Phoenix and Houston. If you can have a layover at one of these airports, you’ll be more likely to make your connecting flight. While you typically will want to avoid hubs where there is heavy snow, Salt Lake City and Denver do surprisingly well because they know how to handle heavy snowfall.
Flying in the winter can be a hassle due to weather conditions. Make sure you’re staying up to date and taking the proper precautions so that you will be prepared for any delays or cancellations that may come up.