Pack your patience if you're planning to travel over holidays

Jillian Mele Image
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Holiday travel concerns amid winter storm
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Airlines are already expecting the boards to be lit up with delays and cancellations due to bad winter weather across the country.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Winter weather across the country is already causing some airlines, including American Airlines, to waive change fees for certain days later this week. If you plan to travel over the holidays, prepare to buckle up.

"It looks like the weather is really coming. Chicago is going to be hit later in the week. Airlines are starting to issue waivers for people flying this weekend," says Heather Redfern, Philadelphia International Airport Public Affairs Manager.

From Wednesday through Tuesday, Jan 3, officials at PHL expect about 980,000 travelers, which is up 6% from last year.

They expect Thursday and Friday to average about 75,000 and 74,000 passengers, respectively. They expect Monday and Tuesday to be the busiest days with about 79,000 people arriving and departing both days.

Add weather into the mix, and it could be messy in more ways than one.

"It could be raining here, but if crews and equipment can't get here then you might not be able to get out when scheduled," said Redfern.

So some are skipping town early and making sure to get to the airport early.

"I like to give myself about an hour and a half just in case. I got stuck in just a little bit of traffic coming in," said Georgia resident Frank Franks.

Brandon Palmer, also from Georgia, says, "You never know how security is. With the way the world is right now, TSA might have one less person, and the line can be longer than normal so I want to be here just in case."

And if you plan to park at the airport, part of the Economy Lot remains closed, but a portion has reopened with limited space.

It closed due to Covid-19 in 2020; then in November 2021, it was announced that a portion would remain closed to be used for aeronautical activity, including the airport's cargo expansion program.

"We have about 1,800 spots in our Economy Lot. Our garages are all open, they have been since Covid. All in all, we have about 12,000 spots on-site at the airport," said Redfern.

Airport officials also suggest registering for parking in advance to make sure you can save as much time as possible. They also say not to forget about SEPTA and rideshare services.