Flying out of Philadelphia Tomorrow
February 12, 2014 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Flight out of Philadelphia tomorrow evening. Looks like it will be canceled. Help me get my boyfriend out of the city and not waste a visit we both really, really need and have been planning for months.

My boyfriend is supposed to fly out from Philadelphia evening, but it looks like the flight will be canceled due to the snow storm. We've been planning this visit for months.

He was told he can make a change free of charge. What are our options? He's at work right now, and will be until 9:30, and lives about 30 minutes away from the airport in good weather. He'd be willing to sleep in the airport/a cheap airport hotel (wherever that airport is) or take a red-eye or take a train somewhere first--anything. I personal would prefer he not have to drive in the storm...but I know he'd do that.

Does anyone have any suggestions? The email didn't mention JFK as one of the effected airports, but according to the news it definitely is. BWI wasn't mentioned either, but they seem to be wracking up cancellations too. Pittsburg?

For what it's worth, the flight he is on is a transcontinental, daily, completely-full flight, which statistics say don't get canceled as frequently. It looks like it was a mass-email sent out. Should he just hold onto the original flight until it is canceled?

I'm sorry to throw all these questions out! We are relatively inexperienced travelers, and I don't know the east coast very well. I normally wouldn't do this, but for our mental health, I really can't express how much we need to see each other.

Thank you so much. I so appreciate it. I'm going to be watching/thread sitting a bit just in case anyone has any questions that I forgot to cover.
posted by obviousresistance to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (10 answers total)
added: he just told me he might be able to get out of work at 7
posted by obviousresistance at 12:32 PM on February 12, 2014

Where (roughly) is he going?
posted by corb at 12:33 PM on February 12, 2014

While I don't have specific suggestions (hopefully others will), if he's looking for a reasonable airport, he needs to go inland. This will be (mostly) a coastal storm, so inland airports will be less affected. Pittsburg's forecast looks not bad at all, so it's certainly something to consider.
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:34 PM on February 12, 2014

He's flying to the west coast (if someone needs more info than that, please memail me)
posted by obviousresistance at 12:35 PM on February 12, 2014

A couple weeks ago we were due to fly out of DCA to SFO on a Tuesday, but weather made it clear that flights were going to be canceled, and the airline announced it would waive all change fees, so we changed our flight to the next day. This meant we were not at the mercy of the airlines (since we already had seats), and we weren't left being all stressed out hoping the gate crew wouldn't bump us again.

The forecast for this storm makes it look like Philly will definitely get smacked tonight and tomorrow; while his airline will let him change to another flight without charge, that doesn't mean they'll let him change to another flight at another airport - he needs to check that to be certain. Also, know that airports in the region that *aren't* snowbound may well still see cancellations and late departures, because the planes and crew they need might be stuck at those snowbound airports. He could try changing his flight to tomorrow night, and if it looks like that one will be canceled, to reschedule again for Friday night. His flight tonight *might* not get canceled, but if he's already at the airport when it is, he'll likely be in a worse position to get a for-sure seat on the next flight.
posted by rtha at 12:43 PM on February 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Looking at the map, Pittsburgh looks like the best airport to get there. As Betelgeuse said, you want to head inland, I'm seeing a 5 hour drive, though, which means he'd still be heading out Friday morning at best. If you have the whole weekend, I'd try rescheduling for a Friday evening flight - it will cut a day out of your visit, but on the other hand, will get everyone in a better mental health frame of mind after the reschedule.
posted by corb at 12:46 PM on February 12, 2014

The weather is an ice storm, which is disasterous for ALL travel. Best bet would be to take the Turnpike to Pittsburgh, which is a 300 mile trip. So if he leaves work at 7:00, and there's NO ice, snow or delay on the turnpike, he'd get to Pittsburgh at around Midnight-1:00 AM. Then, once off the Turnpike, he's got to drive the Parkway through town and out to Moon Township to the airport.

He will not be the only person who thinks of this idea, so best to do it NOW if it's to be done.

Just to say this, if the plane doesn't get out of a snow-bound airport to Pittsburgh, the flight may still be delayed.

Wait. It will be easier and safer. I get that you're desperate to see each other, but weather and planes and icy interstates are not things one dicks around with.

Can your reschedule for next week?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:53 PM on February 12, 2014

Central PA is also supposed to get hit with ice and snow; his timing might be too tight to get him out ahead of it but it's an option if he's really up for trying it. The downside would be that if something goes wrong/there's bad weather/delays he'll be on the turnpike close to nothing but Pittsburgh. If he can get on a flight Friday that seems like a safer option; Philly just got slammed with an ice storm last week so many of the trees/power lines are already weak. I would take rtha's advice on the plane flight change, and good luck to you both.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2014

BWI is indeed affected. My boss was supposed to be flying out of there on vacation tonight; he told me his flight was cancelled and the airline rescheduled him on a flight out tomorrow afternoon. He (and I) suspect that flight may be cancelled as well.

I suggest you reschedule for next week, if possible. This storm is supposed to be nasty for the entire east coast, with snow up north and ice down south. Ice screws up EVERYTHING worse than snow. Travel throughout the east coast will be affected somehow.

JFK (and even IAD) *may* be okay given that they service a lot more incoming international flights. But I could be talking out of my arse. There is a State of Emergency here in Maryland and they banning non-essential road travel starting at 10 PM, so I suspect your boyfriend wouldn't (legally) be able to get to IAD, DCA, or BWI, as to get to any of those from Philadelphia requires travel through Maryland. It may be possible to take Amtrak to BWI or DC, but (a) I suspect they're delayed as well, and (b) IAD is not (currently) accessible by rail, though they are building a subway line out there. (BWI has an Amtrak stop relatively close to the airport, and DCA is accessible by the DC Metro once you get into Union Station.)

Best bet for flying out tonight would probably be to get a bus or drive to Pittsburgh. There is a whole lot of absolutely nothing on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, though, so if the weather gets bad he could be stranded in the middle of nowhere, which would be worse. I would highly recommend rescheduling to next week or later.
posted by tckma at 3:34 PM on February 12, 2014

I'm sorry. I know this sucks. Driving to Pittsburgh, while possible, is going to be a problem. The most direct path is across the state on I76, but that puts you right in the storm's path. If he's going to do it, then I80 looks to be out of the storm's path, but it'll take a bit over 6 hours.
posted by 26.2 at 5:59 PM on February 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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