Do you have upcoming East Coast travel plans? Watch out. It looks as if Hurricane Sandy, recently dubbed the “Frankenstorm” will be hitting hard and fast within the next few days. What does this mean for travel? Well, there might not be any. The storm is expected to cause a host of flight delays and cancellations as it moves up the coast through the weekend.
The storm, which has already taken the lives of more than two dozen as it moved through the Caribbean, is expected to maintain hurricane to tropical storm level force as it moves through land in the Northeast. Having already crossed the Caribbean, the storm is expected to continue up past Florida Friday afternoon, and along the coast over the weekend, finally moving west and making landfall Monday with its peak expected Tuesday.
If you’re traveling in any way in the next week, here are the four main ways you can prepare yourself:
If you had plans to fly in the impacted areas make sure you contact your airlines as soon as possible to see what can be done. Airlines are expected to update passengers as the storm gets closer, so make sure to keep an eye on your provider’s website. For those who booked flights with JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, or US Airways, you are in luck; the airlines are offering to waive their rescheduling fee saving you about $150.
Tip: Before you leave the house, call the airline, but don’t ask if the flight is on time. Ask the status of the plan by requesting the flight’s tail number and where that tail number currently is. This way even if the flight is still listed as on schedule at your terminal, you’ll know where the plane you are waiting for is. If it’s sitting on the runway at the center of the storm, you can assume that your flight will not be on time without the hassle of going all the way to the airport.
While it is still uncertain where exactly the storm will make land fall, it is expect that anywhere from the northern tip of South Carolina to southern Connecticut to be at risk. For those who will be staying in the impacted areas during the storm your best bet will be to plan ahead and get a jump on the rush for hotel reservations. If possible just plan to stay an extra night or two now and avoid the stress of trying to book a room with every other stranded traveler in town – especially with the potential for massive power outages.
3. Driving, Public Transit & Stormy Roads
In addition to all of this, expect delays in your ground travel plans as well. The storm is also likely to affect public transportation causing even more delays and even possible closures, which has been discussed in New York. If you are planning to be in the area and needing to get around you would do well to make a reservation for a rental car sooner rather than later, although with widespread flooding and power outages the best idea would be to just stay inside and wait for the storm to pass.
Finally, for those with cruise plans make sure that you are keeping up to date with the schedule. With the storm causing so much damage as it moves up past Florida, and leaving just as much damage in its wake, cruise lines may have to make changes to the originally scheduled port of call itinerary that you signed up for, and unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. Part of every cruise lines itinerary change policy states that the cruiser may change its itinerary at any point at their discretion and hold no liability for refund in the situation.
For more hurricane travel support, stay tuned to Peter Greenberg and check out:
- Travel Trip: Travel During Hurricane Season
- Hurricane Guarantees & Hurricane Free Islands
- Avoiding Delays from Severe Weather Travel
- Hurricane Museums
By Steven Knight for PeterGreenberg.com