Traveling to the Midwest This Week? No You Aren’t.

Or maybe you are, in which case, here's what you need to know

Airplane on snow Covered runway
Minneapolis is in the crosshairs of a historic storm

In case you weren’t aware, the Midwest — and, specifically Minnesota — is currently gearing up for a snow storm of epic proportions. And your travel is going to be affected.

According to Accuweather, “A massive winter storm that will stretch 2,600 miles from coast to coast across the northern United States this week will unload heavy snow over the Upper Midwest while also spreading an icy mix from near the Iowa/Nebraska border to the northern New England coast.”

And while Minneapolis is no stranger to snow, meteorologist Matt Benz added, “There is a high probability that Minneapolis will pick up 18 inches of snow or more from the storm. The February record of 13.8 inches of snow from a single storm is likely to be smashed.” Further, the snowfall could rank among the all-time top storms for any month in the city’s recorded history.

The good news is that Minnesota isn’t exactly a top destination to travel to in the month of February and so the overabundance of flight cancellations that we’re already starting to see likely won’t have the same fallout that they did, say, the week of Christmas. That is, of course, unless you’re me and you’re the maid of honor in a wedding in Minneapolis this Friday. So if you, too, count yourself among the sorry people still trying to defy the odds this week, here’s what you need to know.

Canceled, Delayed or Bumped? Here’s What You’re Entitled To.
If you’re flying this holiday weekend, know your options in the event things head south

There’s already speculation that Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport may shut down altogether, and delays at neighboring airports — Chicago and Detroit chief among them — are a pretty safe bet. In the interim, airlines have already begun canceling flights and offering travel waivers in anticipation of less-than-stellar travel conditions. Per Travel + Leisure, Delta Airlines was among the first, as Minneapolis is a major hub for the carrier, with United Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, and Alaska Airlines all following suit.

There do seem to be some remaining flights (my first flight, scheduled to depart from JFK at 6:00 AM on Thursday was already canceled, though I was able to get on a second departing around 1:00 PM), direct — and/or — early morning options are going to be the best bets. Be aware, however, that once the storm is done pummeling the Midwest, it’s expected to move up east where states like Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine could also potentially get hit with 12-18 inches of snow. New York, for its part, will likely get rain (thus, some ice). All of this to say: if you’re among the lucky few to make it to Minnesota or the surrounding area, that luck may not be enough to get you home again after the fact.

In closing, if you can postpone your trip? Postpone your trip. Otherwise, be sure to monitor your flight status (easiest through the airlines’ respective app). See if there are any available non-stop flights. And if you’re expected to be celebrating nuptials in eight degrees and two feet of snow come Friday? May the odds be ever in your favor.


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