NEWARK, NJ — Travel this holiday weekend may not be so joyous.
A winter storm is forecast for large parts of the country. Airlines are bracing for multiple cancellations and delays.
While many people may wish for a white Christmas, this type of weather causes headaches at airports. And even if it saves us from the winter weather forecast across the country, we won’t be so lucky when it comes to delays and cancellations.
At Newark Liberty International Airport, check-in and check-out have been pretty smooth sailing.
“I thought it was going to be crazy. I thought I was going to lose my kids like five times, but, you know, they’re all here and they’re accounted for,” said commuter Holly Bratz.
So far, delays and cancellations have been minimal, far from what many expected.
“Maybe one or two canceled flights or a delay in slowing down, but we didn’t run into any of that,” one person said.
“Packed because, you know, it’s Christmas and the holidays, so it was pretty good to be honest,” Edwin Mendita said.
“It’s usually very busy during the holidays, but they haven’t been so bad now,” added Isabelle Turpan.
But in a day or two, that will change. Winter weather is forecast and major airlines are already asking passengers to consider rescheduling.
United, American and Delta are offering to waive the usual fees associated with changing a flight, but others are not extending the courtesy.
CBS travel expert Peter Greenberg says it’s all about where the airlines are located.
“If most of their fleet is in Florida, they might not cancel at all,” Greenberg said.
He said airlines have scheduled fewer flights to manage them better and hired more staff.
“Plus, the calendar is working in everyone’s favor because Christmas and New Year’s fall on a Sunday. It allows people to change their departure dates, as well as their return dates, long before there’s a weather report ,” Greenberg said. .
For Lola McDoe, the forecast has made the holidays that much more stressful. She booked flights for the family on an airline that is not offering the option to reschedule.
“Especially when the fee is so expensive,” McDoe said.
Ticket prices are about 14% higher this year compared to last.
If you’re flying, travel experts say expect to see fewer options, full planes and cancellations to increase on Friday.
And if you’re driving on Friday, AAA expects traffic on New York’s busiest roads to be double the usual amount as commuters mix with holiday travelers.
“You can predict a lot of company and if the weather is going to be bad, that makes it even worse,” AAA Northeast’s Robert Sinclair told CBS2.