Travel tips when bad weather is looming--or already here
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Entrepreneur magazine, June 1998
Face it: There will be times when Mother Nature just won't cooperate with your travel plans. So when a storm is either looming or in full force, here are a few travel tips:
- If the weather looks pretty fierce before you leave for the airport, call and find out the status of your flight. Don't call the airline's toll-free numbers for updates--you'll be put on hold for too long. Call your travel agent or the airline's automated flight arrival and departure lines, or log on to the airline's Web site, most of which broadcast real-time flight arrival and departure information.
- If bad weather is likely, you might not want to check out of your hotel or leave home until you've found out the status of your flight. Keep your eye on the Weather Channel (on television or the Web site at http://www.weather.com)to determine if a storm is brewing in your area or the area where you're headed.
- If you're already at the airport and departure looks unlikely, try to make a reservation at a nearby hotel that offers free shuttle service. Don't wait too long because airport hotels book up fast when flights are canceled.
- If you simply can't miss an out-of-town meeting or presentation, consider leaving the night before, particularly during bad weather months.
- If bad weather looms, bring along a snack. Many airports caught off-guard have been known to run out of food during prolonged weather delays. Dried fruit and nuts are nutritious, don't take up a lot of space and don't spoil.
- If your flight has been delayed or canceled, don't wait in line with everyone else to rebook. Instead, go directly to a pay phone and call the airline's toll-free line to rebook. Using the same computer system, agents on the phone can do almost everything that gate agents can do.
- If your flight is going to be delayed a few hours, buy a day pass to one of the airline clubs (usually $25 to $50). Agents inside the clubs can assist you with reticketing or rerouting.
- Unexpected cancellations that may force you to use another carrier could present problems if you have an electronic or ticketless reservation. You must first obtain a paper ticket from the original carrier before making arrangements with another airline.