South Tampa residents with big plans for weekend travel might want to check twice before hoping in the car to head to Tampa International Airport.
A blizzard striking the northeast is to blame for a number of canceled departing flights today, Feb. 8. Many flights arriving from the northeast are also grounded, which means visitors might have a hard time making their way to the Tampa Bay area.
To find out if your flight is delayed or canceled, just visit Tampa International’s homepage and look in the top left-hand corner. There you’ll find a search engine that will enable you to quickly scan all scheduled departing and arriving flights. It’s also a good idea to check directly with your airline for details about cancellations.
The Huffington Post offers these 5 ways to change your flight during a winter storm.
1. Plan Ahead
Currently, the airlines have instituted flexible rebooking waivers, so don't wait until you have trouble.
3. Know How to Reschedule
If you're at the airport and your flight is canceled, your first instinct might be to go up to the ticket counter. Don't follow the herd. Instead, pick up the phone and call the airline, where you might get faster service. You can also go online and use Twitter to directly message your airline's support accounts. You can also go to the airline's lounge, purchase a day pass if needed and work directly with their agent who might be able to better assist you.
4. Don't Forget to Book a Hotel
If you're stranded, you have options beyond the closest airport bench. Founder and president of Road Concierge, Lisa Morris notes:
"I always make sure I have a list of all of the airport hotels with the direct phone numbers on hand, so that when there's a situation like that I'm not going on the website. Those hotels are not going to throw the rates up online; they need to protect their rooms. I call the property directly. I'm calling them immediately and I'm getting my passengers into hotel rooms before even the airlines can."
It's important to make preparations even if you might get on an earlier flight. If you manage to book a flight, most hotels will let you check out with a cancellation fee because there will be a waiting list for available rooms.
5. Pay attention to How You Book
It might not help you now, but how you book matters in how you are treated during weather emergencies. It you booked a cheap flight through a third-party online travel agency, know that your request will not be prioritized in the same way as frequent fliers, travelers who booked through a reputable travel agency or even travelers who booked directly through the airline. When faced with rescheduling a flight in a weather emergency, remember, if possible, to opt for an airline where you have some loyalty points accrued.
Is the storm causing a change in your weekend plans? Tell us in the comments.