That awful thing known as “winter weather” has already begun disrupting Myrtle Beach’s calm beach life. Airlines have started having to cancel flights, disrupting trips for locals and travelers alike.
At least four flights leaving MYR were canceled Thursday. Another 20 flights today have been canceled, as well. Most of them were flights to or from other destinations in the Southeast, where some of the worst impacts of the current winter storm are being felt.
The hardest place to get to or from right now is Charlotte. Four flights to that airport from Myrtle Beach and another four from it coming back here have been canceled through tomorrow at 9 a.m. Charlotte saw snow and ice during last weekend’s winter storm and is likely to see more this Friday and Saturday.
The next available flight departing Myrtle Beach and heading to Charlotte is on Saturday. American Airlines flight 5220 is currently on time and leaves at 11:14 a.m. That’s about an hour before the winter storm advisory is currently scheduled to end in Myrtle Beach. However, that flight is dependent on the plane’s arrival from Charlotte around 10:45 Saturday morning.
After two years of pandemic-induced travel disruptions, hopefully you’re more prepared than usual for last-minute changes to carefully laid plans. If not, never fear. We have more than a few ideas. If these don’t work, you at least have our sympathy.
Airline apps: Use them, please, to keep track of your flight. There’s no point in heading to the airport if you could’ve found out half an hour before getting there that the flight had been delayed.
Consider another airline: Has your current airline canceled your flight? And its backup? It’s time to start considering switching to another one. Sometimes, airlines will even cover the cost of switching to another flight.
Start planning for an extended stay: Many of the departures left today are headed to places that could also see winter storm affects. Haven’t left your hotel? Call or head down to the front desk to see if you can extend your trip for another couple days. By Sunday, most of the winter weather will be cleared up. Plus, it’s the off-season right now, so we have plenty of hotel rooms available.
Busy phone lines: Myrtle Beach is not the only destination affected by the winter storm. Expect to have to wait on the phone for awhile, or in line for awhile at the airport if you head there, before you can be helped to find another flight or accommodations. Thousands of other people are running into the same problem as you.
Driving? Maybe not: Some might be tempted to get a rental car (or if you live here, your actual car) and drive to their destination. However, it’s probably best to wait to do that until Sunday. This is South Carolina, a place that doesn’t deal with snow much. The roads, especially in rural areas, could ice over and might not be treated by state and local officials immediately, if at all.
Customer service can only do so much: The airlines and hotels will want to help you, but they can’t do magic. You might just have to deal with a delayed vacation, or a longer one, and that will be that. “You’re going to be impacted by storms,” former Myrtle Beach Hospitality Association CEO Stephen Greene said last year. “What do you think we can do, go out there” and wish the storm away?
For actual flying logistics, follow these tips, from the Washington Post travel blog, By The Way.
Get a direct flight: Less room for error. Even this reporter has had to switch flights at the last minute because a flight delay left less than 15 minutes of room for a connection.
Don’t check a bag: If you’re flight gets canceled, you might be sent on a scavenger hunt to find out where in the airport black hole your bag has been sent.
Pack snacks! Several people at Myrtle Beach International Airport recently told The Sun News that there was next to nothing in the way of food. Coming prepared with granola bars will save you from fighting hangry crowds for the last cinnamon roll at the only restaurant outside of security.
It’ll be stressful, for sure. But it’ll all be OK!
Oh, and don’t forget your mask when you walk into the airport! They are still required. Plus, they keep your face warm when walking to and from the car!
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