COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Thousands of flyers are jetting off to their holiday destinations before the worst of the winter storm hits — but the incoming weather has already thwarted travel plans for some.
According to FlightAware, thousands of flights across the country were canceled Thursday. As of 5 p.m., four of those cancelations were supposed to depart from Columbus.
Flyers said the looming threat of the storm is making holiday travel — typically a high-stress time — even more anxiety-inducing.
“You can find out where your plane is coming from, so we were looking at Chicago, we were looking at St. Louis and just trying to make sure the plane gets here before that weather comes through,” said traveler Jodi Harris. “So yeah, it’s a little stressful.”
So far, Columbus airports have seen dozens of flight delays to destinations all across the country. NBC4 spoke with flyers heading to Minneapolis who said their flight was delayed two hours.
Another obstacle flyers said they’re facing is their plane’s originating flight being canceled, causing their own flight to be delayed or canceled.
So far those flights have been from Chicago, St. Louis and Denver. The uncertainty is causing families like the Harrises to be plan strategically.
“I’ve been online. I was on the Southwest app. I was on Port Columbus’ app, and we were trying to game out,” said Jodi Harris.
Her son, Brady Harris, studies meteorology at Ohio State. He said he’s been tracking the storm to make sure it wouldn’t impact their flight to Fort Myers, Florida.
“The last couple of days we’ve been watching it because we knew the cold front was going to be coming through Chicago,” Brady Harris said.
Jodi Harris said it’s been a stressful few days. But despite some doubts, the family made it on their flight with no delays.
“We should be fine getting down to Florida, but the next couple days it will probably be pretty dicey,” Jake Harris said.
Many flyers said they got to the airport early to give themselves time to drive there — and get through possible lines.
“I think we were going to try and get out before everything hits, so that was something that gave us stress relief,” Ashley Covitz said.
The forecast shows temperatures continuing to drop overnight into Friday, which could make for an icy runway. Airport officials said the best way to keep track of your flight status is by downloading your airline’s mobile app. They also asked flyers to arrive early to give themselves enough time to check their bags and go through security.