Winter Woes: Getting to the Airport on Time

Winter in Metro Detroit can be brutal, as Mother Nature brings snow, cold, and ice to the region every year without fail. This wintry mix can make it very difficult to navigate the roadways on your way to work, school or play. But getting to the airport in winter poses even more of a challenge because you have to allot more time for safe travel and weather-related delays.

Not only can storms delay your flight, but they can also lengthen the amount of time you need to safely get to your gate. Scheduling DTW parking valet service well in advance, especially in winter, will ensure a much less chaotic experience.

Busiest Air Travel Days in Winter

The winter months, unfortunately, have some of the busiest travel dates of the whole year. This translates to longer lines and a higher likelihood of lost baggage. There’s another problem posed by Mother Nature: flight delays and cancellations. We already know that the holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year’s) are some of the busiest of the year, but the rest of the winter is no picnic either.

The month of January can get quite busy due to all the college kids who are still on winter break. Then, once February break hits for elementary, middle and high school kids, there’s another surge – usually during the third week of February. March is busy all month due to college spring breakers and April has spring vacation week and Easter to contend with.

Suffice to say, no month of the winter is immune to busy travel.

Tips For Getting There on Time

Getting to the DTW Airport can be a challenge when snow covers the ground or the roads are slick with ice. The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to give yourself plenty of time to get there. Consider the severity of the weather at hand and pad your timing. For big storms, you may want to leave yourself double time to get to the airport.

Of course, before you even leave the house, you should go online and check that the flight is still on time. Here are some more tips to keep in mind.

  • Fly non-stop: Fly non-stop whenever you can, especially in the winter.Yes, it will be more expensive, but it will save you the headache of dealing with the delays or cancellations of connecting flights.
  • Choose connecting airports carefully: El Niños shift mid-winter storms south, so if you can’t avoid a connecting flight, pick wisely.
  • Fly first thing: The sooner you can catch a flight in the morning, the better. As the day goes on, there are likely to be more and more weather delays throughout the system. This will help you avoid cascading delays.
  • Give yourself extra time: Budget your time accordingly between connections, but keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for some flights to depart one to two hours late due to de-icing. Give yourself an extra hour to drive to the airport from your home or the hotel just to be safe.
  • Check in 24 hours ahead of time: Travelers from canceled flights due to bad weather can lead to overbooked and crowded planes. If you have an assigned seat, check in online 24 hours ahead of time so you don’t get bumped.
  • Get updates online: Follow your airline on Twitter or Facebook two to three days before the flight. You may start seeing flights getting canceled due to weather, which puts your flight at a higher risk. The earlier you know your flight will be cancelled, the better chance you have of getting rebooked.
  • Stash an emergency kit in your car: Keep an emergency kit in your car in case you break down on the way to the airport. A well-stocked kit could spell the difference between scrapping your plans totally and getting to the airport a few minutes late. In this kit, stock up on some warm gloves, blanket, flashlight, windshield cleaner, de-icer, extra batteries, water bottles, energy bars and rock salt for traction.
  • Check your car: Before leaving for the airport, check the tire tread and air pressure. You may want to consider putting winter tires on now. Top off all fluids, and make sure you know where the defroster, windshield wiper buttons and hazard lights are located, especially if you have a newer car or you have a teen driver. Take some time to read the owner’s manual so you can familiarize yourself with all the features before you’re in a pickle on the way to the airport.
  • Be prepared: Wake up early and leave early. Put gas in your car the night before. Don’t rush to get to the airport. Let your car warm up sufficiently and use the defroster. Brush off all snow from your car – including the roof! — before pulling out of the driveway.
  • Slow down: It goes without saying, but you should drive much slower in winter. You don’t want a spin-out or an unfortunate accident to sideline your trip. Don’t tailgate, and focus on the road. Remember, bridges are icier than solid ground. Take sharp turns extra slowly and be mindful of snow drifts.

By heeding these tips, you can get to the airport on time, even in the winter.

Contact Valet Connections DTW Parking

This winter, don’t leave your airport navigation up to chance. Pull in, let us park your car, and be on your way! Whether the temps are in the teens or there’s a few inches of snow on the ground, Valet Connections can get you to your destination quickly and safely. Plan ahead and book your reservation now for winter travel at (734) 992-4946.