These front-seat selfies reveal Utah’s winter splendor

There’s a reason Utah’s claims to have the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” Spend a month here, as I just did, and you’ll see this state’s winter splendor for yourself. Read more “These front-seat selfies reveal Utah’s winter splendor”

Looks can be deceiving in consumer advocacy. Here’s the truth about what you see.

From the window of my room, I can see Colorado’s snow-covered Elk Mountains against a perfectly blue sky this morning. I’m lucky to be here for a few days with my kids before we head back to the city.
Read more “Looks can be deceiving in consumer advocacy. Here’s the truth about what you see.”

“I never forgot how kind this hotel was to us”

Kimberly Palmer/Shutterstock
Kimberly Palmer/Shutterstock

I’m researching an article about hotel cancellation policies for the Washington Post, but one of the stories shared by a reader resonated with me so much that I just had to pass it along. It’s another heartwarming, almost too-good-to-be-true tale of customer service.

Last winter, Lauren Staley and her husband were driving from Colorado back to California, where they live. They’d planned to spend the night at the halfway point, in Elko, Nev. But they never made it.

“A huge snowstorm caught us unaware,” she remembers. “We ended up stopped on the Salt Flats [in Utah] for several hours due to an accident, and by the time we got moving again the sun had gone down and the roads were completely iced over.”
Read more ““I never forgot how kind this hotel was to us””

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not home for Christmas

No, you’re stuck at the airport or in a motel, waiting for the winter storm to pass.

The National Weather Service has issued a warning for heavy snow in the mountain counties of North Carolina not bordering Tennessee, the mountains of South Carolina and Georgia, and the North Carolina foothills. Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are under a winter storm watch. Airlines are proactively canceling flights and waiving cancellation penalties.

Western Europe, which has been battered by winter storms, has it even worse. About 200 people spent the night at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, which cancelled 400 flights because of snow and ice.

I spent a good part of yesterday fielding calls from reporters who wanted to know what to do if winter weather disrupts your holiday travel plans. Unfortunately, by “travel” they meant “air travel” — and that’s not how must of us are getting home. More than 90 percent of us are driving or taking the train. Or trying.

Do I have any advice for stranded travelers?

No, not really, other than to sit tight, pull out a good book or click on your favorite travel blog, and wait for the weather to pass. Airlines consider blizzards to be an “Act of God” and they aren’t required to do anything under their onerous contracts of carriage. As for motorists, when’s the last time you negotiated a meal voucher from a car that’s stuck in a snow drift?

I do, however, have some interesting holiday reading.
Read more “If you’re reading this, you’re probably not home for Christmas”

Flying in the snow: 6 lessons for coping with winter-weather delays

Last weekend’s blizzard was a warning to air travelers: Winter is only starting, and when bad weather moves in, your flight schedule isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Nicholas Holland learned that when he tried to fly from Reagan National Airport in Washington to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a Christmas party on Dec. 18. US Airways canceled his original flight and rescheduled him with a connection through Cleveland. But when a record snowstorm slammed Washington on Saturday, US Airways canceled the new flight, too.
Read more “Flying in the snow: 6 lessons for coping with winter-weather delays”