What Actually Happens During a Snow Delay?
Traveling during the winter can cause a lot of stress due to bad weather, overcrowded airports, or a snow delay – but what actually happens during these delays?
Oh, the dreaded airport snow delay. If you have ever traveled during the wintertime, then you know just how frustrating and inconvenient a snow delay can be. When the FAA determines that weather conditions are just too dangerous for safe air travel, all flights are grounded – and that means passengers, too.
Regardless of your travel itinerary, your destination, or your connections – you are stuck in that airport until the FAA gives the all-clear.
So, what actually happens during a snow delay?
Why Do Airports Call a Snow Delay?
As mentioned above, snow delays happen when the FAA feels that the weather conditions are too dangerous for planes to fly, takeoff, and/or land. For example:
- When water, snow, ice, or slush are found on a runway, this can reduce traction and make it difficult for planes to take off or land.
- Not to mention that it can increase safety hazards.
- Additional runway length is often needed for commercial aircraft to land or take off when the dry ground is compromised.
Most airports are equipped to handle small amounts of weather-related issues. However, when the heavy stuff comes, it doesn’t clear so easily. Plus, major storms often bring additional problems such as visibility concerns, high winds, the icing on the plans, and turbulence issues in the sky.
The FAA works to maintain safety for the planes and passengers. Therefore, delays occur when precautions are taken. The most common precautions are:
1. High Winds
If the weather outside is not frightful, but still rather windy, you may find that the FAA still grounds planes. Winds can occur during any weather event – and even their own. And, they make flying a bit risky – especially when combined with snow, rain, or other inclement conditions.
Crosswinds can cause severe turbulence and even cause planes to be unable to take off or land. Again, resulting in flight delays.
2. Icing – and De-icing – of Airplanes
When the temperature drops, ice can easily form. And, ice forming on airplanes is no exception. This does not seem like it should be a big deal, right?
Well, it is important to note that when ice forms on an aircraft, it results in potential risks to its mechanics and overall functioning. Of course, keep in mind that ice forming on a runway is a terrible thing, so this, too, will ground aircraft.
It is common for many travelers during the winter months to hear that there is a snow delay due to the need for de-icing. Hosing the aircraft down with a special solution not only removes the ice currently frozen to the plane but also reduces the chance of ice re-forming while in-flight.
3. Airport Hassles
A snow delay does not only affect the aircraft itself, but also the airport. It brings about so many hassles that many travelers often have at least one wintertime travel horror story. Delay after delay and potential cancellations often lead to severely overcrowded airports.
Airports are meant to handle large volumes of people. However, they have a cap, too, just like every indoor venue. Believe it or not, there comes a time when airports can be so crowded they are just uncomfortable.
Long lines at security checkpoints, airline counters, food vendors, and bathrooms can be miserable in itself. Then, finding seating is just another chore. During heavy delays it is not uncommon to find people on the floor – some even stretched out sleeping!
The Bright Alternative: Private Air Travel
So, what if there was an alternative to miserable wintertime commercial air travel? What if your airline was delayed or grounded, but you had luxuriously comfortable accommodations? If you could go get a hotel and know that your flight would wait for you to come back when restrictions are lifted? What if you could get yourself in the sky much faster than commercial aircraft?
This is all entirely possible – when you fly private jet charters in the winter time.
See, private jets often fly out of smaller airports. These airports – or FBOs – are designed with comfort in mind. Getting stuck in one is often a pleasant experience, without any hassle. Granted, each one is different so you may find more amenities and comfort at one private airport than you do at another. But, the overall experience and reduced number of passengers makes it a great win over the commercial airport experience.
Guess what? That is not the only perk to flying private.
- For instance, de-icing planes takes time. De-icing private jets can be done rather quickly.
- In addition, the amount of runway required for private jets is smaller than that of commercial.
What does all of this mean for you? It means that you can find yourself in the air much faster than you would be if you were flying commercial. And that’s a huge bonus.
Additional Private Jet Travel Perks
Shall we keep going with all the benefits you may encounter while traveling during this snowy, icy season?
Take a moment to think about the volume of commercial aircraft. Then, what happens when these airlines are delayed? They pile up, right? Not only do you have to load hundreds of people on each airliner, but you have to maneuver them around to get them loaded and safely in the air, one after the next. It’s a long process.
With private jet travel, you are the passenger. There are not hundreds and you won’t see the jets piled up, waiting in long, drawn-out, slow lines.
And, finally, the best part?
If you find that the area you are traveling to has been affected by FAA regulations due to weather, you are not bound by strict flight patterns. Your private jet can divert to another airport (since there are many more private airports available) without the delays or restrictions. This can free you up and get you to your destination without added hassles and frustrations.
Wintertime is an incredibly popular season for air travel. Unfortunately, though, it is also a season full of heavy delays. Don’t let yourself succumb to all the miseries that come with FAA grounded flights due to weather delays.
Instead, opt for private jet travel and arrive at your destination with a smile on your face.