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Fliers, grab your scarves and brace yourselves. Winter starts tomorrow, ushering in the season of snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain and other weather conditions guaranteed to make your life miserable at the airport. And if it’s anything like last year, this winter could be a doozy. (Here in New Jersey, I didn’t see my front lawn for two months straight.)
Don’t let the season snow on your parade this year. Delayed and canceled flights are almost a given during winter storms, so if the 10-day forecast looks grim before your departure date, consider the following tip from Ed Hewitt:
“Most hotels don’t charge your card until you show up at the front desk, so you can usually safely book a room and cancel if your flight does take off reasonably on time. If you’re stuck in an airport without easy Internet access, a good tactic is to have on hand the phone number of your preferred booking Web site. … Check out airport hotels first. Subsequently look for off-airport hotels that offer shuttle service to the airport so you can ditch your rental car or otherwise count on a ride to the airport without too much trouble or expense.”
For best results, book that airport hotel several days before your scheduled departure date, and then cancel the reservation if you don’t need it; it’ll be much easier to find a room in advance than on the day a foot of snow closes your airport and leaves thousands of travelers stranded. Just be sure to check the hotel’s cancellation policy.
— written by Sarah Schlichter