Airports digging out from blizzard; will travelers get to fly?

After a frightful day of snow and wind – and then more snow and more wind – New York area airports finally reopened on Monday afternoon.

Now the real “fun” begins as airlines try to reposition planes and find seats for travelers who have been stuck at airports around the country.

Here are some of the stories that have come out of the storm.

From the Wall Street Journal: Snow Keeps City at Standstill

From the Star Ledger: Hundreds of Stranded Newark Airport passengers hope to rebook flights

From the Christian Science Monitor: LaGuardia airport and others reopen, but stranded fliers still face ordeals

You get the picture…

Want to find out when you or someone you’ve been waiting for will get on a plane?

Make sure you’re signed up for all methods of flight status alerts and are following your airline and your airport on Facebook and Twitter – if they’re there.

Now that planes are moving, it should start getting easier to rebook and/or confirm a flight. Try doing it online yourself before getting on the phone or on a long line, which can take hours.  Several airlines are re-booking travelers via Twitter, so give that a try as well.  Keep in mind though, that it will take several days for get everyone where they’re going, so if you’re heading to an airport, take along some food, activities to keep you busy, a charged cell-phone, good humor and lots of patience.  While you wait, my USA TODAY airport guides and assorted apps from airlines, airports and third-party entities may help you find amenities, shops and restaurants.

And if you’ve missed the event you were heading to in the first place, ask for a refund, take out your calendar and start making a new post-blizzard plan.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…

Blizzard 2010: tools and tips for those stuck at the airport


With an east coast blizzard underway on Sunday evening, trains, buses, cars and airplanes were at a standstill and several airports in the New York region closed down entirely.

The cancellation of thousands of flights to and from the east coast means major disruption elsewhere as well, so traveling anywhere on Monday and Tuesday – and no doubt later in the week – will be no picnic.

For those of you stuck at an airport or trying to figure out how to avoid ending up that way, here are some tools and tips that may be useful.

*Take the waiver. If you’re scheduled to fly in the next few days and your flight hasn’t already been canceled, chances are your airline is offering to let you change flight plans without a change fee. Do it. When planes do start flying, you’ll have a reserved seat while travelers from all these canceled flights will be working their way up standby lists.

*Make sure you’re signed up to receive all the Twitter, Facebook, email and text alerts being sent out by airlines and airports on your itinerary. In many cases that information is more up-to-date than the information available inside the airport.

*Bookmark airport websites, download airport and airline apps (i.e. GateGuru, and the airport guides I created for USA TODAY. In this case, information will definitely be power – or at least useful in helping you keep up-to- date and knowledgeable about your surroundings.

(Finding a power outlet and keeping your cell phone or laptop charged while you’re hanging out at the airport might be a challenge – so ask someone to do this for you at home as well.)

*Make sure you have supplies: if you’re going to the airport, be sure to bring snacks, books and other items to keep you entertained, a charged cell-phone, a change of clothing, something you can sit on (and perhaps sleep on) and a bucket of good humor and patience. A lot of this is going to be out of everyone’s control.