Winter storms could worsen holiday travel


(NewsNation) — The peak of the holiday travel season is nearly here, with more than 100 million Americans expected to travel 50 or more miles to reach their holiday destinations.

With a massive winter storm looming, threatening parts of the U.S. with blizzard-like conditions and arctic temperatures, some of those travel plans are likely to be derailed.

And for Los Angeles travelers, there’s the added joy of construction traffic.

“I would say get here to have an early flight because I thought that would be better, but I don’t think it is. This is my first time flying this early and I’ve never seen it so crowded,” Chloe Feldman, an LA traveler, told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Monday.

Clint Henderson of The Points Guy joined “Rush Hour” to discuss the overall weather impact he expects and where he thinks it will be felt the most.

“The timing is not great for the storm. It’s going to affect most of the country east of the Rocky Mountains. If you can, get an earlier flight home for the holidays,” Henderson said.

“Because, with travel the way it is right now, a big storm like this could have a pretty devastating domino effect for travelers across the country,” Henderson continued.

For some, crowds and traffic may seem inconsequential: On Sunday, a Hawaiian Airlines flight hit severe turbulence, injuring 35 passengers, 11 seriously, in the process. 

And while thunderstorms are a factor in that region, a winter weather system is expected to bring even more significant travel troubles in the East: In Buffalo and beyond to the south and central U.S., the snow is about to pile on later this week, and it will arrive with below-average, even bone-chilling temperatures. 

In addition, firearms have now become a holdup at airlines: There have a record 63,000 weapons intercepted at security checkpoints last year, compared to 59,000 last year, TSA reports. 

“Eighty six percent of the guns that were detected last year were loaded, 86%. So that means a lot of people are telling us that you know, they forgot that they had their loaded gun with them. Interestingly enough, they seem to know where their keys are or where their mobile phone is. But not their deadly weapon,” Lisa Farbstein, from the TSA, said on “Rush Hour.”

The travel crowds are only expected to get bigger throughout this week with a peak Friday. LAX was the busiest in the country Sunday, with more than 103,000 passengers heading out on flights.

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