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Fly nonstop or avoid bad hubs for winter travel

SmarterTravel

We all remember the endless delays, canceled flights, and stranded-passenger stories from last winter. And while it may not be possible to avoid bad weather entirely, there are several strategies you can employ to make your winter travel experience as smooth as possible.

  • Fly nonstop: The best way to get to your destination? Shell out the extra bucks for a non-stop flight. While it may be pricier than a flight with a connection, you’ll avoid getting stuck in a city prone to delays.
  • If you have to connect, pick the right airport: When comparing flight options, look for flights that connect in a city that offers warm weather, few delays, or both. According to Wendy Perrin of Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago, Denver, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Seattle had the most delays last winter. Airports in warmer climates, such as Atlanta, Houston, and Las Vegas, fared much better.
  • Choose the right time: You’re far more likely to arrive on time if you choose the first flight of the day, and/or a flight that lands during the warmest times (Perrin recommends between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. for wintry destinations). Steer clear of evening flights, as they’re typically the most delayed.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Do your research: Want to know if your flight has historically arrived on time, or if the airport you’re flying to is prone to delays? Check out AvoidDelays.com, FlightStats.com, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for up-to-date information.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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