MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The first rounds of flights are taking off with Thanksgiving travelers. But before you fly, airport officials have a warning: "This time of year this is one of our busiest weeks of the year," said Courtenay Leopard with Myrtle Beach International Airport. "So please, like we say, allow extra time for that. And it makes it a lot easier on everyone."
Be early: Leopold says two hours ahead of the flight is always best. Even though MYR is a smaller airport, there are still a number of things that can get in the way of making a flight. First, make sure to allow enough time for parking. Since this is a high-travel time, parking can be a pain, and the airport has opened up an overflow lot for holiday travelers. Also, with so many people traveling, travelers need to account for time waiting at the ticket counter and also going through TSA. According to Dailypress.com, the longest wait time at MYR is 34 minutes.
With the recent weather reports, there are concerns about this year's travel, especially at airports. Delayed or canceled, there are some crucial things you need to do when a trip takes a turn for the worst. First, make sure to check all the flights on a trip.
"It's sometimes a domino effect here," said Leopard. "So you know, if there's a delay in another area, then it could affect something here, so you just need to check with the airlines on all flights."
When you get the news of a cancellation, you have to act quickly. Travel experts recommend you get in line at the gate and dial the customer service number at the same time, so you can up your chances of getting in touch with someone fast. If your flight falls victim to the weather, it gets tricky because, it's out of the airline's control.
Airlines will most likely put you on the next available flight, but the only problem is that next flight isn't always what's convenient. It could be in two hours, or the next day. When dealing with weather, it's important to know there isn't a federal rule that requires airlines to give food vouchers or a hotel room when a flight is canceled, but some do - it never hurts to ask. If you know that the weather could be a threat to your flight it could be a good idea to have a hotel room on standby. Make sure to book a "flexible rate" so you can get a refund if you don't need to use it. There's also the option of buying a ticket on another airline if you have time limitations.
Travelers say delays and cancellations are something to be prepared for this time of year.
"If you think of the history, and you remember the turnover, and people get stuck in terminals and the problems you have, it's understandable why they'd want to warn you," said Charles Keever, who's traveling from Myrtle Beach International for the holiday.
But there are ways to quickly know the status of your flight. When you call the airline to check, make sure to know the flight number.
You can check the status of your departing flight online here:
Arriving flight status can be seen here:
And track flights to and from MYR here:
FlightAware.com, a website that tracks airline traffic, unvelied its "misery map." Hub airports like Chicago's O'Hare, Denver and DC showed the most red for misery on the map Monday– after 600 flights were canceled.
Flightcaster.com predicts flight delays..sometimes hours before airlines figure it out.