DALLAS — It's the same story days before and after Christmas: holiday travel is brutal. But, this year -- just when things couldn't get worse -- an arctic front has a stranglehold on much of the U.S. It has resulted in mass-scale flight cancelations and delays.
"You don't know the airline delays. At least I'm early enough to check in. I'm a patient man when it comes to this," said James, who has made plans to arrive at Love Field the day before his flight to Vegas.
James tells WFAA he has no intention on missing his Saturday flight. He's heard about the flight cancelations and delays across the country.
"Create contingency plans. But of course this year we have this cold weather and bad weather over the whole country which is the perfect storm for snarling things up just at the right time," said Catherine Banks of Legacy Travel. Legacy Travel is a travel agency out of Plano which has been in existence since 1989.
According to FlightAware, more than 8,000 domestic flights have been cancelled Friday and roughly 22,000 flights were delayed. Southwest Airlines has the highest number of those cancellations domestically with more than 900 flights. We are told there are more cancelations to come Saturday. American Airlines ranks fifth in highest number of cancelations for the day.
If you're not flying for the holidays, you're driving. And, if you're driving you're likely in line to get air in your tires. The near sub-zero temperatures have taken a toll on tire pressure. The line outside the Discount Tire in Dallas for free air-checks has been seemingly never-ending.
"We've probably seen around 300 customers. The line was wrapped around the building," said Carlos Del Campo, manager at Discount Tire. "For every ten degrees it drops you lose one psi in your tires," he said.
AAA expects 112 million people will be going 50 miles or more for the holidays. Catherine Banks says research other nearby airport options you might be able to fly into. For example, flying into Love Field over DFW Airport, or vice-versa. This time of year some people are even opting to take rental cars to their desired destinations. So far, there have not been reports of rental car shortages after rental companies shortened inventory during the pandemic.
People who are mulling whether to travel, considering all the flight cancelations, driving conditions, etc., may also have to ultimately decide whether to travel at all.
"You have to be creative. Sometimes all you can do is all you can do and that is a hard decision to make, but sometimes you have to," said Banks.
Banks gives WFAA the following tips for traveling: Download the app for the airline you're using as delays and cancelations will first be reported there. Always carry on basic toiletries and medication and a change of clothing in case you get separated from your luggage. And pack a good attitude.
"The people with the airline you're dealing with...they didn't make the bad weather and they didn't make the cancelled flight. Everyone's just trying to get through the day," she said.