People quickly changing travel plans ahead of winter storm

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 10:28 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Many people have been working to change travel plans because the winter storm is expected to start on Wednesday and continue into Thursday and even Friday.

“It’s been kind of hectic watching the airlines,” said Joe Van Cleave.

Van Cleave has family in Butler County. He has been trying to get his three children to Iowa for a funeral Wednesday from across the US.

“One of my sons we got his flight yesterday, my daughter is driving about ten hours from Texas because it’ll be faster than flying, and another son flying in from San Francisco,” he said. “It has been a little tense finding last minutes flights.”

Eastern Iowa Airport Communications Director, Pam Hinman, said they have crews ready to keep the runways as clear as possible, but when high winds decrease visibility, it’s just not safe to fly.

“if you go to the airline website, they’re offering travel waivers to rebook,” said Hinman. “We know that several people have rebooked. I think we’re going to have a busy Wednesday with people trying to get out ahead of Thursday.”

Hinman said it wasn’t often that they must close the airport, but when they do, it’s to keep people safe. She said the blowing wind and visibility were their biggest concern.

“A few years ago, we had to close the airport because our folks can’t see each other with their huge pieces of equipment,” said Hinman. “That’s just not safe.”

Van Cleave was still trying to figure out how to safely bring multiple family members from different places to Iowa for Wednesday’s funeral. Once they arrive, the next question turns to when it would be safe to travel back to their homes.

“I’ve been telling them to plan on being here until after Christmas with the weather,” said Van Cleave.

Hinman said people wanting to change their flights should do that through their service provider, not by calling the airport. She says they also can’t add flights ahead of the storm.