Expect delays just in time for the holidays

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The clock is ticking and time is running out. Christmas is in two days and many people are wondering if weather will impact package deliveries.

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver a total of 420 million packages during the holiday season, a 12 percent increase from last year.

Harry Spratlin, a regional spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service says he does not anticipate weather posing a problem for any deliveries; however, local shippers have a different feeling.

Bob Henry owner of Jerribob's, an authorized shipping company for all of the major carriers says there's always a chance weather could impact gift arrival.  He anticipates delays in only a few places.

"Maybe in New Hampshire and Maine. They have some snow and ice going through there today and tomorrow- maybe tonight- so those may not make it in time, they may be delayed by one day. We don't anticipate any delays in the rest of the country," he says.

He says weather has been an issue in years past, but with the help of his family, they worked around the clock to assure delivery for the holidays.

For last minute deliveries, you have until 5 p.m. to ship gifts in time for Christmas.  Last minute shipping, out of the Carolinas, will be next day air and can cost about three times ground shipping.

Holiday packages may not be the only delay.  Ninety percent of travelers are set to hit the road this holiday season, according to AAA; however, airport officials say Monday marks the day when air travel takes off-

"The airlines preparing for the holiday have added capacity and more flights into the market.  Majority of our flights are going to the northeast- New York, the Philadelphia area and further north," says Myrtle Beach International Airport marketing manager Kirk Lovell.

With many flights headed up north, there's always a chance weather can cause delays.  The northeast isn't the only region dealing with wild weather.

"Looking at the weather out west, could have anything to do with it," says Scott Bagwell.

Bagwell and his family say they are taking a connecting flight from Charlotte to Boston.  They showed up at the airport to notice their flight to Charlotte was slightly delayed and they weren't alone.

Kim Bitner looks forward to her fathers holiday trip every year but is spending the day waiting for his arrival.

"His flight was supposed to get in at 10:43 but we got here to discover it was canceled," she says.  "The flight was canceled for crew availability, or something like that and he's confirmed for 7pm tonight."

Flightaware.com, an airline tracking website, reports more than 700 airline flights were canceled Sunday throughout the country, and more than 11,000 delayed.

Airport officials say the most important thing is to check your flight before you arrive to the airport.  Take steps to avoid extra delays, such as taking part in advanced online check-in.

Also, find out from your airline if you're eligible for TSA pre-check to travel through security faster.

Airport officials advise you arrive two hours early for your flight and leave yourself enough time to find parking.

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