Many parts of the United States are facing subzero temperatures and blizzards. Due to the significant snowfall, most airlines have canceled flights.
The severe weather has also impacted postal services. Experts warn that some areas should be more cautious since it might be dangerous. Over 2,800 flights have been rescheduled ahead of the Christmas holiday. According to sources, most flight cancellations have occurred at Denver International Airport, Chicago Midway, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Airlines noted that the icy winds, snow, and cold temperatures might disrupt cross-state travel.
“It’s all hands on deck to ensure our customers are cared for during the holiday travel season, including when severe weather hits. Critical to our preparations was sizing the airline for the resources we have available and operating conditions we face, as well as being able to react quickly to get our customers on their way once the weather clears,” said American in a press release.
Several airlines have already provided weather waivers for many of their domestic flights. Airlines, ironically, were anticipating a rebound from their Christmas losses. Before the frigid weather, three of the country’s top airlines forecasted millions of dollars in income from increased demand for holiday travel. This issue, however, may have an impact on the estimates of various airlines.
“We are seeing a lot of strength for the holidays or approaching the Thanksgiving time period, and our bookings are incredibly strong. However, the bookings are a little bit different this year, and they’re more spread out across multiple days than they were on any single day,” said United Airlines chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella months ago.
“We see airfare to those top destinations, the ones with the highest demand at the holidays, are much higher than they typically are at this time of year. And they’re only going to increase from here,” Hopper lead economist Hayley Berg explained.
“We’re going to have fewer flights available and more travelers looking to go home or go on vacation for the holidays. That means that you might be paying a much higher price and unable to get a seat on the specific flight you want to take,” Berg said.
“Most travelers will want to fly a few days before the holiday and return a few days after. That means prices are those dates are going to be extremely high, capacity is going to sell out, and airports are going to be chaotic,” she added.
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Dealing with a bomb cyclone
This phenomenon has been dubbed the bomb cyclone by many. Google searches for bomb cyclones have increased in recent days. The weather anomaly occurs when the air pressure suddenly lowers, swiftly escalating into a storm.
“Bombogenesis, a popular term used by meteorologists, occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone,” writes the National Ocean Service.
This might happen in a few minutes. According to experts, this occurs in various locations of the United States, including the northern Plains, upper Midwest, and northern Rockies. Furthermore, at least 24 states are preparing for the imminent threat, which might result in flash-freeze on roadways and coastal floods.
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Airlines and their suggestions to passengers
Experts in the airline industry have devised some practical techniques that individuals may use to combat the extraordinary cancellation and delay of flights over Christmas. First, customers should check to see if airlines provide free rebooking in the event of canceled or delayed flights, according to experts. Furthermore, if in doubt, travelers should call the DOT’s hotline and inquire about the right and legal methods to cope with airline cancellations.
“Scheduling the first flight of the day is a great way to avoid flight delays. Studies show that the first flights of the day are more likely to leave on time and arrive on time,” says CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee.
“If an airline cancels a passenger’s flight or makes a significant change in the flight, regardless of the reason, airlines are required to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger, including those with non-refundable tickets, should the passenger choose not to accept the alternative offered, such as rebooking on another flight. Learn more about your right to a refund,” says the DOT.
“The number one thing, and I cannot stress this enough, is that you must get to the airport early and well before your flight time. “If you are traveling with a lot of luggage or packages to check in, for example, arriving two hours early may not cut it,” adds Unifi Aviation CEO Gautam Thakkar
“The best way to ensure all luggage arrives safely to a traveler’s destination is to not check a bag. Packing light and carrying on is a great way to save money and have peace of mind that your luggage will make it to your destination with you,” added Klee.
Photo Credit: CNBC