Holiday travel is ‘going to get messy,’ expert says


(NewsNation) — A major winter storm is expected to cause travel disruptions for millions of holiday travelers, with hundreds of cancellations and delays already plaguing airports across the nation.

Melanie Lieberman, the global features editor at The Points Guy, joined “NewsNation Live” to discuss how the anticipated storm will impact holiday travelers and shared some tips on how to be proactive with travel plans, as well as which deals to look out for or avoid.

Lieberman said the best thing that anyone can do — including airlines — ahead of a winter storm like this that can cause travel disruptions is to be proactive.

“As this weather approaches, and as people start traveling for the holidays, it’s going to get messy,” Lieberman said.

Jennifer Weatherhead, a travel expert, agreed, saying if travelers do intend on flying, to start making plans ahead of time.

“You need to be up to date on that weather system and know exactly how that might impact, not just your airport, but also the flight path that you will be taking, especially if you have a connecting flight, as well,” Weatherhead told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Tuesday.

“The best thing you can do right now is get ahead of this — be proactive — call that airline, see if you can make these changes, but get on that right away,” she said.

Some airlines, including United and American, have already handed out waivers to travelers ahead of the storm that will allow passengers to change their flights in the same fare class for the same route without any change fees, she explained.

Another proactive thing to do is constantly check the airline’s website for updates. Lieberman said that the easiest and quickest way to do so is by downloading and using the airline’s app on your phone.

But it is most important to have a backup plan because delays and cancellations do happen, she said.

“If you’re committed to sticking with your original flight, the thing to do is to make sure that you’re using programs like FlightAware and downloading the airline’s app,” Lieberman said.

She said it’s important to have immediate information about what’s happening with your flight, including where the airplane is so that you can get ahead of cancellations and delays, even before the airline announces them.

“A great strategy is looking for other airports in the area — maybe even taking a train, looking for alternative routes and then, if you’re canceled or delayed, getting on the standby flight. Rebooking as quickly as possible, leveraging social media to do that, because if your flight is delayed or canceled, other people are trying to do the same thing at the same time,” Lieberman said. “We want people to act fast and know exactly what their options are: alternative flights, alternative airports and get onto that standby list or get rebooked as quickly as possible.”

It can take days for airline operations to get back to normal, she explained, so it’s important to fly out as early as possible and to be on top of rebooking as quickly as possible.

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