Saturday, March 17, 2007

How to Fly in a Snowstorm

  1. Bad signs (both of which I observed yesterday): the workers on the tarmac making snow angels, pilots on cell phones begging with their dispatchers to let them just ferry the plane (no passengers) to the airport, out of the storm area, where the plane is supposed to spend the night.

  2. The trick is to get rescheduled onto the first flight that is actually going to get you closer to where you are trying to go. Being rescheduled onto something that will eventually be cancelled is not what you want.

  3. Decide if it's worth the risk of being stranded in a hub city away from the snow. Tonight I am scheduled to fly to Charlotte, and I have a 30 minute layover before my scheduled flight on the last plane out. I am prepared to spend the night in Charlotte because I'm more likely to get home from Charlotte than I am from here.

  4. Find the flight number of the airplane that will become your flight. I'm leaving Albany on US Airways 2699, scheduled to depart at 6:50pm from gate B11. According to the US Airways complete schedule, flight 2660 from Charlotte will be arriving in Albany shortly after 6pm at gate B11. I'm going to watch the status of that flight, since if that plane doesn't make it to Albany, I'm not going anywhere.

  5. Be ready to call the airline's toll-free number for automated flight information. Especially helpful if you're sitting on an airplane at a hub airport and are wondering if you're going to make your connection. Also helpful in conjunction with the full schedule to find out whether any planes are actually flying.

  6. FlightAware tells me about all the planes arriving and departing at Albany and much, much, more.