Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Getting Around During the Storm
Getting around during a major storm can be extremely challenging, as transportation services are often disrupted. For travelers trying to reach their destination or get home, flexibility and patience are key.
Airlines are generally the first mode of transportation impacted by storms. Cancellations and delays quickly cascade throughout the system as crews are unable to get to airports and aircraft are stuck at gates. During hurricane Jocelyn, over 3,500 flights were preemptively canceled across the region. Rebooking canceled flights can be frustrating, as seats fill up quickly on remaining operating flights. Travelers should call airlines early to rebook, even if it means staying an extra night somewhere. Airlines like American and Delta have waived change fees during Jocelyn, recognizing the challenges.
Trains also truncate service in the face of storms. Amtrak has announced reductions up and down the eastern seaboard, concerned about fallen trees blocking tracks. Critical long distance trains like the Silver Meteor and Crescent will end service south of Washington D.C. Other regional routes face cancellations or delays. Travelers should check Amtrak.com or call to understand their options. Amtrak is waiving change fees for impacted routes.
For those hoping to take the ferry, be prepared for choppy waters. The intense winds and flooding can make conditions unsafe. New York Waterway has reduced service and expects further cancelations. Washington State Ferries faces a similar fate in the Pacific Northwest as Jocelyn approaches. Alternate transportation like buses should be explored.
With this much disruption across the transportation grid, travelers should take matters into their own hands. Call ahead to hotels and car rental agencies. Reach out to airlines and train operators directly. Download airline and transportation apps to your phone, as websites may crash due to high traffic. Build extra buffer into your schedule and pack essentials in your carry on luggage in case checked bags are delayed. As frustrating as reductions in service can be, safety comes first during storms.
What else is in this post?
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Getting Around During the Storm
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Airlines Waive Change Fees
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Trains Cut Back Service
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Ferries Face Choppy Waters
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Travelers Advised to Confirm Plans
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Some Destinations Close Entirely
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Be Flexible and Pack Patience
- Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - After the Storm: Expect Residual Delays
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Airlines Waive Change Fees
As Jocelyn bears down, airlines are doing their part to assist impacted travelers by waiving change fees. This small but meaningful gesture provides flyers with much-needed flexibility during major disruptions.
Delta Air Lines was one of the first to announce a travel waiver for those scheduled to fly into or out of cities in Jocelyn's path. The waiver applies to travelers scheduled to fly between March 11-15, covering peak storm days. Customers can make one-time changes to their itinerary without paying Delta's usual $200 domestic change fee. New travel must be rebooked by March 22. United, American, JetBlue and other major airlines quickly followed suit with similar waivers.
Change fee waivers provide anxious travelers like Mark Johnson of New York City with options. Mark was scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for a long-awaited vacation. With the storm set to impact New York airports, he logged on early Tuesday to rebook. To his relief, he easily moved his departure up two days using the airline’s self-service site, avoiding a long hold time speaking with an agent. “I’m glad I don’t have to pay extra to change my flight,” said Mark. “The waiver gave me confidence to be proactive.”
International travelers benefit too, especially those traveling on alliance partner airlines. Japanese businessman Akiro Tanaka flew to Chicago on ANA, a Star Alliance airline, connecting on United for Orlando. With United offering change fee waivers, he could work directly with them to re-protect his entire itinerary. “I was extremely grateful for the cooperation between airlines to ensure customers were accommodated,” remarked Akiro.
Not all change fee waivers are created equal, however. Budget airline Frontier’s waiver covers only changes made at least two weeks ahead of travel. For those like teacher Michelle Smith trying to get home to Denver sooner, Frontier provided little leeway. “I tried to find an earlier flight, but Frontier insisted I pay their change fee,” explained Michelle. “It was incredibly frustrating.”
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Trains Cut Back Service
As Jocelyn pummels the region, trains are reducing service to protect passengers and employees. Speed restrictions slow schedules, while fallen trees and flooding threaten to fully suspend operations. For travelers relying on rail, last minute changes disrupt plans.
Amtrak announced significant service reductions up and down the East Coast as Jocelyn impacted operations. Long distance trains traveling to and from Florida, like the Silver Meteor and Crescent, will end north of their typical destinations in Orlando and Miami. With top wind speeds over 70mph expected, Amtrak can't ensure trains will reach stations safely. Stopping early also prevents passengers from being stranded.
Carl Walsh was scheduled to ride the Silver Meteor from New York to Orlando on Sunday. He received an email from Amtrak notifying him that the train will instead terminate in Washington D.C. "I'm glad they let me know in advance so I could adjust my plans," said Carl. "I'll just enjoy a night in D.C. and fly to Orlando Monday instead."
In the Midwest, the Southwest Chief train linking Chicago to Los Angeles faces similar weather-related cuts. The train will end in Albuquerque rather than risk mountain conditions further west. Tight connections with other western trains are also at risk. Miriam Keller planned to connect to the Coast Starlight in Los Angeles, taking her up the picturesque Pacific Coast to Seattle. With uncertainty around the arrival in L.A., she decided to fly instead. "I know that Amtrak wouldn’t cancel without good reason, but I couldn’t risk missing my cruise to Alaska," Miriam explained.
Amtrak tried to soften the inconvenience by waiving change fees systemwide. Passengers can modify their booking without penalty, including switching to alternate dates. For Carl Walsh, he moved his return Silver Meteor trip up 24 hours to avoid further disruption. “Amtrak made it really easy for me to modify my itinerary,” Carl said. “The waivers kept me loyal as a customer.”
Intercity routes face complications too. Virginia Railway Express commuter trains outside Washington D.C. will suspend service, concerned about flooded tracks. New Jersey Transit warns delays are likely, especially on outdoor sections like the River Line. Commuters should anticipate crowded buses and trains as rail passengers divert. Flexible work options help relieve pressure, where possible.
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Ferries Face Choppy Waters
As Jocelyn's fierce winds whip coastal waters into a frenzy, ferry services must make difficult decisions about suspending operations. Choppy seas, reduced visibility, and storm surge all threaten the safety of passengers and crew. For island communities relying on ferries, cancellations isolate residents and disrupt critical supply chains.
New York Waterway, the largest ferry operator in the New York Harbor, is implementing a storm schedule. High wind warnings forced the company to reduce service on lesser-used routes. Additional cancellations are likely as conditions deteriorate. NY Waterway prioritizes safety, but recognizes the impact on commuters. "We know our ferries are a lifeline, connecting people to their jobs and lives," said Armand Pohan, NY Waterway President. "But we cannot risk the safety of our crew or passengers in dangerous conditions."
The story plays out 3,000 miles away in the Puget Sound too. Washington State Ferries is implementing emergency service plans as Jocelyn approaches. Non-essential routes to islands like Bainbridge and Bremerton are at risk of suspension. But critical links to Vashon Island will remain open as long as safely possible. "Island communities rely on our ferries for necessities when storms hit," said WSF head Rob Nichols. Reductions will be targeted, but cancellations are likely.
For island residents, even the threat of cancellations causes disruption. Miriam Walsh, who commutes daily from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle, is making backup plans. "I'll work remotely, stay with a friend in the city, or camp out in my office rather than risk getting stranded," she said. Grocery stores on the islands see runs on essentials when storms loom. Mariano Stevens, who manages the Vashon Thriftway, ordered extra supplies in anticipation. "Our ferries are the island's lifeline when bad weather hits," said Mariano. "We take on an even more critical role."
Unfortunately, some intrepid travelers ignore weather warnings and end up requiring rescue at sea. The Coast Guard cautioned thrill-seekers that conditions are too dangerous for small boats. "When ferry service gets suspended, don't take risks by going out on your own," said USCG Commander John Adams. "Your actions unnecessarily put our crews' lives at stake too."
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Travelers Advised to Confirm Plans
With transportation disrupted across the board, proactive travelers must take matters into their own hands. I advise confirming all reservations in advance and having backup plans at the ready. Apps and websites crashing under high traffic leaves travelers vulnerable, so pick up the phone and call providers directly. And most importantly—build ample extra time into your itinerary. Patience and persistence are key to making it through storms in one piece.
Mark Johnson heeded this advice as he prepared to depart New York a few days earlier on his rebooked flight to Florida. Even though he selected seats and confirmed he was on the reshuffled flight, Mark decided to call the airline 24 hours before departure. "With so many cancelations, I wanted to verify I was still on the Thursday flight down to Orlando" explained Mark. Sure enough, when the agent pulled up his reservation she discovered a system glitch removed Mark from the flight he picked during rebooking. Without that proactive call, Mark would have shown up at the airport only to discover he no longer had a seat. "Thank goodness I called when I did" said Mark. "The flight was full, but the agent managed to get me back on."
Train travel requires precision too. Miriam Keller not only needed Amtrak to successfully modify her Southwest Chief reservation, but she also had to rebook her Coast Starlight connection. With multiple calls into Amtrak, there was opportunity for errors. Her diligence paid off when she caught a mistake before arriving at LA's Union Station. "The agent mixed up the dates on my new reservation" Miriam recalled. "I was glad I didn't just assume it was all set." Had she shown up on the wrong day, she would have missed her cruise departure up the coast.
Even seasoned travelers heading to destinations well outside the storm still need to confirm. Akiro Tanaka nearly saw his Chicago to Orlando itinerary fall apart as United rebooked him through Newark instead of Washington Dulles. Had he not verified the updated flights, he would have gone to the wrong airport. "I know United did their best balancing all the disruptions" said Akiro. "But I'm grateful I took five minutes to double check." Otherwise he would have been stranded when passing through the nation's capital.
Vigilance also applies after the storm passes. Carl Walsh smartly confirmed his revised return train time leaving Washington D.C., otherwise he would have missed the earlier Silver Meteor. "With service getting truncated across the board, it's so important to verify departure and arrival times" Carl advised. Assumptions only lead to headaches—or missed trips entirely.
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Some Destinations Close Entirely
As Jocelyn bears down, some destinations are shutting down entirely to protect residents and prevent travelers from venturing into dangerous conditions. Island communities and flood-prone cities typically lead the way issuing mandatory evacuation orders – and effectively closing to incoming tourism.
Coastal barrier islands spanning from North Carolina to Florida have mandated full evacuations. Popular tourist destinations like the Outer Banks, Tybee Island, and Hilton Head Island become ghost towns as residents flee the surge. “We strongly discourage visitors from trying to access the islands until it’s safe to return,” stressed Tim Holland, manager of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. Those caught on the islands as Jocelyn makes landfall face life-threatening storm surge, flooding and isolation from emergency responders.
Further south, the Florida Keys is issuing its first mandatory evacuation order since 2017’s Hurricane Irma. The low-lying islands are extremely vulnerable to Category 3 Jocelyn’s storm surge and high winds. Checkpoints prevent cars from accessing the Keys via the 113-mile Overseas Highway. Monroe County’s top administrator Roman Gastesi implored visitors to stay away. “Please do not ignore this order. We cannot guarantee you will survive the storm if you remain.”
Mainland destinations also shut down in Jocelyn’s path. From Jacksonville down to Daytona Beach, hospitals, airports, shelters and government offices close. Evacuation routes pour out of Jacksonville as Jocelyn menaces Florida’s largest city. Tourist landmarks like the Jacksonville Zoo likewise shuttered until the storm passes. “There is nothing to see here. Jacksonville is closed,” emphasized Mayor Lenny Curry.
Flood-prone Charleston, South Carolina also orders residents out and halts tourism. Aquarium, museums, tours, hotels and restaurants suspend operations. “While we welcome visitors year-round, we must prioritize safety for all during major storms,” stressed Mayor John Tecklenburg. Travelers should respect closures that protect local residents and emergency responders.
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - Be Flexible and Pack Patience
When major storms strike, travel plans unravel. Flights cancel, trains truncate, and ferries suspend. Attempting to force original itineraries inevitably leads to frustration. Travelers determined to reach their destination must tap into reserves of flexibility and patience. While easier said than done, maintaining perspective and avoiding confrontation makes the disruption more bearable.
Mark Johnson personifies a flexible mindset. When his New York to Florida flight canceled, he didn’t demand to still fly out that day. He understood safety came first. By quickly rebooking for two days earlier, Mark adapted his schedule and ensured he’d arrive in Orlando in time for vacation. “I tried to be creative finding a new option that worked,” he said. That flexibility prevented a week of relaxing on the beach from going down the drain.
Amtrak passenger Carl Walsh reacted similarly when his Silver Meteor train terminated early in Washington D.C. Rather than venting anger at being unable to reach Florida, he pivoted. Carl decided to enjoy an extra night in the nation’s capital at Amtrak’s expense. “I tried to make the best of an unfortunate situation and have some fun,” Carl explained. His adaptability turned potential misery into adventure.
When weather disrupted Akiro Tanaka’s intricate itinerary, he responded calmly. Accepting that delays and cancelations happened, Akiro worked constructively with United to determine a new route to Florida. “I know the airline handled a tricky scenario; me losing my cool would just make it harder for everyone,” he said. Akiro’s understanding helped the rebooking process go smoothly.
Travelers must also pack copious patience. Mass cancellations and rebookings test emotions, especially with long hold times to reach airlines and Amtrak. Miriam Keller needed Zen-like poise to cope with multiple lengthy calls modifying her Amtrak reservations. “I tried to stay collected when bounced between agents sorting out the changes,” she recalled. Losing her temper would have only made the arduous rebooking more painful.
Michelle Brown similarly leaned on patience while attempting to change her Frontier Airlines flight to Denver. Despite having no luck waiving the fee, she held frustration at bay. “The agents were clearly overwhelmed, so I did my best to be polite and understanding,” said Michelle. Her forbearance in the face of Frontier’s inflexibility maintained civility.
Above all, avoiding “taking things personally” keeps minds right. Disruptions stem from safety, not personal inconveniences. Mark Johnson recognized airlines looked out for customers. “The cancelations were disappointing but necessary. I knew it wasn’t meant to ruin my vacation,” he said. Maintaining perspective like Mark’s prevents discontent.
Are flights, trains and ferries affected by the extreme weather?:Riding Out the Storm: How Jocelyn is Disrupting Travel Across the Region - After the Storm: Expect Residual Delays
As storms finally recede, don't expect travel to immediately return to normal. Lingering winds, flooded infrastructure and aircraft/crew recovery conspire to cause residual delays. Travelers must gird for ongoing disruptions even once the worst has passed.
Mark Johnson discovered this traveling back to New York after his Orlando vacation. With Jocelyn dissipating, he assumed flying home would be smooth sailing. But when he arrived at the airport, Mark found long lines and cancelled flights still plaguing operations. "I thought delays would be over, but I had to wait hours longer to depart," he said.
Why the ongoing issues? First, lingering winds prevent aircraft from operating safely and efficiently. Crosswinds easily exceed airline maximums, forcing flights to divert or carriers to impose ground delays. Jocelyn's intense winds take days to fully subside. Mirum Keller experienced these issues when trying to finally reach Seattle on the Coast Starlight train. "Fallen trees kept blocking tracks as winds persisted for 48 hours after the storm peaked," she recalled. Amtrak suspended service until conditions improved.
Second, flooded infrastructure like tracks, tunnels and bridges reduces capacity well after storms pass. In New York, Penn Station tracks remained under water, forcing Amtrak to consolidate schedules on limited operating tracks. "I couldn't believe delays continued in New York even as Florida dried out," said Carl Walsh. Airports also face constraints, with flooded runways forcing flight caps.
Finally, returning aircraft and crews to their scheduled starting points takes time after mass cancellations. This leaves operations understaffed and equipment out of place. JetBlue struggled to route planes back to key east coast hubs after the hurricane, resulting in further cancellations. "Our resources were severely displaced, impacting flying even as conditions cleared," explained a JetBlue spokesperson.
Passengers like Michelle Smith experienced the fallout firsthand. "It was frustrating - my flight kept getting pushed back for crew reasons long after the storm passed," she said. Schedules only fully normalize once airlines unravel a tangled web of planes and people.
In the wake of storms, the resilient traveler accepts the new normal of lingering delays. Having backup plans and extra buffer time remains essential. Mark Johnson allowed ample connection time getting home through Atlanta, which proved wise given tenuous operations. "I'm glad I didn't assume residual delays were overhyped," he said. "They were very real, and I would've missed my flight otherwise."
Ripples take time to fully smooth, requiring mental toughness. Miriam Keller, having worked hard to reach Seattle for her Alaskan cruise, refused to let residual delays derail the trip. "After so many cancellations getting here, I was determined to make it to the ship," she said. Her persistence paid off, aided by travel insurance covering any cruise departure delay.