Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and with a series of winter storms in the forecast, travel impacts seem inevitable.
If you're planning to fly in and out of either Denver International Airport or the Colorado Springs Aiport, here's what you need to know.
Heavy snow and strong wind will spread throughout the state from northwest to southeast from Monday evening through midday Tuesday, with poor visibility a problem.
If you're flying out of the Colorado Springs Airport on Tuesday, travel is expected to be impacted with significant delays and possible cancellations. Snow totals at the airport could range between 2-5".
Wednesday and Thursday look much better for travel, with a thumbs up for both days. There may some flurries or light snow showers on Thanksgiving Day, but travel disruptions should be fairly minimal.
Another disturbance is expected to increase snow across the area on Friday, with potential impacts possible. There's a chance that a few flurries continue into Saturday with minimal impacts.
If you're flying out of Denver International Airport this week, here's what you need to know. Much like Colorado Springs, Tuesday will be the worst day for travel, both on the way to the airport and leaving from DIA. Snow toals at DIA are expected to range between 8-13". Air travel will likely come to a standstill with blowing snow and strong wind Tuesday. Gusts at DIA could top 40 mph during the height of the storm.
The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday look much better than Tuesday, and should be mostly dry for travel out of Denver's airport. A few flurries on Thanksgiving Day shouldn't cause too many delays, but temperatures will be cold.
A weaker disturbance will push out of the mountains on Friday, with snow for DIA. Flurries could linger into Saturday, with some delays to travel possible late this week.
During the storm, travel delays and cancellations will come directly from the airlines. A good tip is to follow the airlines and whichever airports that you're traveling through on social media.
The following are statements from airlines that serve DIA regarding their operations in the coming days:
United: "We have a waiver in place for customers traveling to, from and through Denver. We'll continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as we move further into the holiday travel period." united.com/cms/en-us/travel/news/pages/testfirst.aspx
Southwest: "Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through Denver on Monday or Tuesday may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures without paying any additional charge."
Frontier: "In preparation for the winter storm moving through the Rocky Mountains, Frontier has enacted a travel advisory that allows for customers traveling through Denver or Colorado Springs to make one itinerary change." flyfrontier.com/alert/?mobile=true
Delta: "At this time, no cancellations are in place or plans to move planes around to avoid them getting snowed in. They are predicting the need for deicing at this time. They have a team of meteorologists monitoring the situation. No fee waivers at this time." delta.com/us/en/advisories/current-advisories
American: "We have not issued a travel alert for Denver. If we do, it will be listed at aa.com/travelalerts. As always, our team at our operations center in Fort Worth, Texas, monitors all weather across our operation."
Spirit: The airline has not posted an advisory as of Sunday night. spirit.com/travel-advisory
Here are some tips for dealing with the crowds:
— Check FlyDenver.com and digital monitors inside the terminal for information on TSA security wait times.
— Get to the airport early. TSA says it will use overtime and move screeners around to make sure checkpoints are adequately staffed, and that mostly worked over the summer.