If July 4 is a holiday for you, we hope you will enjoy it with a picnic, live music, family, and friends.
Flying for the Fourth?
If you’re flying somewhere for the July 4th holiday – or the day after – we hope your flight path is smooth.
Although, if you’ve been reading the news, you know there’s a fair chance you may get stuck at the airport. If you do, check with us and we’ll see if we can offer advice on what’s around that may make your time a bit less stressful.
LAX game creators promise that playing the game you will feel as if you are at LAX: “Experience the excitement of world-class restaurants, catch a performance or check out the celebrity sightings. Just watch out for traffic, paparazzi and leave two hours before your flight.”
LAX also has downloadable coloring pages with airport themes, digital puzzles and a playlist of travel songs to keep you entertained and thinking about how much fun you’ll have when we can all get back out on the road.
If, like us, you’ll be traveling on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, be sure to watch out for elves, Santas of all stripes, and lots of other travelers hoping to get where they need to go for the holiday.
If you need a few extra gifts, keep in mind too that lots of airport shops open early and close late – even on Christmas Day – and many have some pretty cool gifts all wrapped and ready to go.
Severe winter storms are already wreaking havoc with Thanksgiving travel plans across the country.
Denver International and many other airports are taking out their snowplows and de-icing gear and advising travelers to be sure to check the status of their flights before leaving home.
Many airlines are offering fee-free flight changes, waivers on fare differences for rebooked flights and refunds left and right.
In some cases, they are encouraging passengers to switch to flights leaving a day or two early.
At 9 p.m. on the west coast, these are some of the airlines issuing travel alerts. No doubt there will be updates and more alerts by morning and over the next few days. So, if you’re scheduled to fly anytime over this holiday, be sure to check your airline’s website and sign up for alerts about your flight.
American Airlines has a travel alert for passengers scheduled to fly November 27 to/through or from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Frontier Airlines has canceled many flights through Denver and Colorado Springs, CO on Tuesday, November 26. Advisories for rebooking and refunds are on their site.
JetBlue has posted travel alerts for flights in and out of Denver International Airport on Tuesday, November 26.
Southwest Airlines is warning customers that flight schedules may be “disrupted,” as in delayed, diverted, and/or canceled on Tuesday, November 26 in Denver and on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 26 and 27 through Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Airlines’ winter weather alert also applies to flights in and out of Denver
on Tuesday 26.
Bottom line: even if the weather looks great where you are – or where you’re headed to, bad weather in other parts of the country can still disrupt your travels. Check flights, check again and, as always, pack lots of patience when you go to the airport this time of year.
It is a stay at home holiday for some people today. But a travel day for millions. At that means some people will end up stuck at the airport.
It can happen anytime, of course. But as the busy summer travel season kicks into gear, I’ve been asked to work up some airport travel tips for the Weather Chanel audience.
Here are my notes for my appearance, currently scheduled for early Tuesday. Please feel free to add your notes too.
Practice. Seems silly, but often in the rush to get to the airport we forget that we’ll have to partially unpack at the security checkpoint.
Make sure you’re wearing socks without holes, shoes that are easy to take off and put back on. And have your potions and lotions and electronic gear easiy accessible in your carry-on bag.
Leave your guns at home.
TSA finds about 100 guns – most loaded – at checkpoints each week. I’ve given up wondering why people need so many guns. But if you carry a gun around town, check to see that you’ve taken it out of your purse or briefcase before you head to the airport.
Don’t miss the fun.
Look at the “passenger amenities” or “services” section of the airport website. (And subscribe to StuckatTheAirport.com).
Many airports have art or history exhibits, a unique shop or restuarant, even a special observation deck you may miss if you just get to the airport and stick by your gate.
Bring a wide mouth refillable water bottle. You don’t have to buy an overpriced bottle of water. More and more airports have bottle refill stations. Spend your money on something else.
Charge your phones and gadgets before you leave home.
Yes – there are more outlets in more places in airports. But someone else always seems to be using them when you’ need them.
And often they don’t even work. (Expert tip: check to see if that bank of chairs with outlets is plugged in before you use a chair outlet.)
To be a hero bring along a power cord with extra plugs so others can share.
Check to see if there are mobile apps – such as GRAB – you can use to order food ahead that you can just pick put at airport restaurant instead of waiting in line.
An increasing number of airports have At Your Gate and Airport Sherpa – which allow you to order food (and even neck pillows) and have the order delivered to you anywhere in the airport.
Bring snacks. You never know when you’re going to be delayed at the airport. Having something in your bag will keep you from getting cranky and from overspending at the airport and on the airplane, where free snacks can be limited or non-existent.
Shortcut the customs and immigration line.
If you’re traveling out of the country and don’t have Global Entry (a paid program) download the free Mobile Passport app for when you’re coming back through customs.
Either program allows you to shortcut your way through that often very long customs line. Look for the signs or ask the folks stationed along the lines for where to go as the Mobile Passport sign is often not easy to spot.
The Mobile Passport app lets you answer the customs questions on your phone before you even leave the plane and sometimes you can breeze right by the folks who have to wait on a line to fill out those questions at the Global Entry kiosk. Hah!
Bring mad money.
I carry a $10 bill – sometimes $20 – to use as mad money in case I end up stuck somewhere mad and frustrated. I buy myself a treat; a cocktail, some candy, an overpriced coffee drink, a silly souvenir. I deserve it.
Have a tip to add to this list? Please include it in the comments sections below.