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What winter storm?

Looking out on a sunny day aboard Virgin America (Chris McGinnis)

Looking out on a sunny day aboard Virgin America (Chris McGinnis)

Here I sit in my home office perch looking out the (open) bay window at a balmy 60 degree day watching coatless pedestrians meander along sunny sidewalks. A pack of busy carpenters and framers are in short sleeves at the house under construction across the street.

On days like this, most Bay Area Travelers are likely more concerned about our lack of rain this winter than the snow and freezing temps back East. But with a major winter storm altering flight plans for thousands this week, here’s what Bay Area Travelers need to know:

>Flights from the Bay Area to the Midwest and Northeast were affected by snow over the weekend, but now schedules are mostly back to normal according to SFO’s flight boards. Yes, there are a handful of cancellations today (just 14 departures canceled according to SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel), but most flights between the Bay Area and  New York, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere are operating. However, delays for New York JFK departures today have been in the two-hour range.

>Most of the misery is concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast. If you have plans to travel within this area, expect trouble, delays and despair for at least the next two days. Most flights to or from the affected area to or from Bay Area Airports should operate on schedule.

Current tempuratures (The Weather Channel)

Daytime temperatures on Monday (The Weather Channel)

>While the snowstorms have mostly cleared out, outlandishly cold temperatures are now affecting flight operations. De-icing airplanes and runways in extreme temperatures is going to take time. Good news: According to FlightStats, there were 5,684 flight cancellations today, but only 1055 are expected for tomorrow.

>If you are flying up or down the West Coast, you should expect nothing unusual. If flying United, it’s probably a good idea to check on your flight since the plane intended for the route could be ensnared in a frigid trap back east.

>Even if your flight does get canceled, you’ll likely be re-accommodated with relative ease. Luckily, we are in the midst of the “dead weeks” in the travel industry- the period of lowest demand all year-- which means more seats available for travelers faced with irregular operations.

>If you have reservations on SF-based Virgin America, you should be fine. Spokesperson Abby Lunardini told The BAT: “We had some delays over weekend and some trailing delays today on the East Coast, but nothing major. We expect to operate a full schedule today and tomorrow.

>If you are flying JetBlue over the next two days, you will likely be affected. The airline announced that it is shutting down operations Boston, New York JFK, La Guardia and Newark this evening and will re-start at 10 am Tuesday, hoping to be fully operational by 3 pm. It’s going to take a while for JetBlue’s network to re-set and get back to normal.

>Despite a cancellation rate of near 70% at Indianapolis International, United’s  inaugural SFO-Indy flight #317 is scheduled to depart on time tomorrow (Tues) at 1:35pm and arrive at 8:35 pm according to the United website. While I’ve not been able to confirm that the flight is a go or not, the plane might fly empty- roads to and from the airport are still treacherous.

Have your plans been affected by this storm… or not? Please leave your comments below. 

- Chris McGinnis

And just in case you missed it, here’s what else you need to know about Bay Area Travel over the last month:

12 wishes for better Bay Area travel in 2014

Are you a “data traveler?”

Virgin SFO-LaGuardia + AA’s newest jet + Global Entry delays + more

Best/worst days for holiday trips

New terminal at SFO: hard hat tour (photos)

16 brand new, must see NYC hotels

Update: United p.s. fleet SFO-JFK

Asia on sale + PreCheck newbies + United wi-fi + Free airport parking + Nancy Pelosi

Virgin first class sale + Hilton HHonors downgrade + Chase Sapphire w chip + United dumps ExpertFlyer

More A380s + Cathay discounts biz class + SJC courts Asia + Double Elevate pts

>Southwest FINALLY joins PreCheck

>United to allow handhelds below 10K feet

>Travel advice fit for a Queen (Latifah!)


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