How I Handled the “Bomb Cyclone” Storm for Traveling

Written by Charlie

The “Bomb Cyclone” storm made its way through the Northeast with a lot of delays, cancellations, and frigid temperatures. Here is my travel through it.

If you have been in the path of this monster winter storm, you know that it is cold, windy, and snowy! Some of those things affect flights and there were mass cancellations throughout the storm area yesterday and many delays today as airlines try to play catch up.

This post is far from a complaint as I know I am safe and warm inside and there are many that are not now. This is just a chronicle of how I handled it for travel.

How I Had to Handle the “Bomb Cyclone” Storm for Traveling

As it would happen, I actually had to fly to Europe this weekend. I was scheduled to fly to Greece using Emirates airline (which I love but currently cannot stand their baggage handling) but I really did not have much room for missed connections in Greece.

So, with the storm looming, I went ahead and “purchased” a ticket on Turkish Airlines using points to pay for most of the fare. I actually love using Turkish to get to Europe since they offer a unique departure time on one of their flights from JFK of around 1PM. That means you get in Istanbul in plenty of time to make connections around Europe and arrive early in the day at your final destination.

I was able to change my United flight for free because of the waivers. But, then they went and cancelled it. I went ahead and booked a rental car (for free, thanks to my free National rental day) and decided to drive towards JFK from upstate NY last night.

Driving Through The Storm

The snowy thruway in NY

That is about a 6 hour drive on a good day. But, I knew it would take much longer. I figured if I left early enough, I would have enough time to pull over and get some rest and then not get stuck with morning traffic into the NYC area.

The driving was horrendous! The wind combined with very messy, snowy highways to create some whiteout conditions and I saw many cars and trucks off the road – some very far off the road. I started following a snow plow for a while as it cleared the way and salted but the piled of hardened slush it began dropping were so large that they could have caused problems for my car. Plus, we were only going about 18MPH (in a 65MPH zone).

After a couple of hours of driving, I pulled over for an hour’s nap. Feeling good after that, I pushed forward again until I was more than halfway to NYC and then pulled over for another couple of hours.

Flight Delays Almost Worked For Me

JFK from Terminal 1 this morning

I was able to arrive in NYC about 3 hours before my flight was supposed to depart – but of course my flight is delayed as well do to late incoming flights (this same flight yesterday actually was diverted to Washington DC and the return was cancelled). So, now I may miss tomorrow’s flight.

The crazy thing is that if I had arrived at JFK one hour earlier, I could have taken last night’s Turkish flight since it was delayed 10 hours!

So, now I am sitting the lounge getting some work done and thankful that I was able to arrive here safely – especially since all the flights that would have brought me here this morning had been cancelled. It wasn’t the most enjoyable of rides, but sometimes it is really helpful to have a backup plan that does not depend on an airline. Having travel credits make all of that even easier!

Have you been delayed by this monster storm?

Featured image courtesy of NOAA

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


    • You know, if I had been delayed anymore than I was, I was going to contact you or Michael! I got off easy since my flight out of JFK was “only” delayed 4.5 hours or so. I had just missed the TK flight from the night before (could have been on that one!) as it departed 11 hours late!

  • Everything has to be such an over exaggeration these days! It used to be called a winter storm.

    • Hence the quotation marks. 🙂 Honestly, I never knew that a “Bomb Cyclone” was a thing! Growing up in western NY, we are used to all kinds of winter storms and this didn’t seem to be all that more extreme.

  • If you’re 6 hours away from JFK and in upstate NY, that would put you closer to Montreal (assuming Plattsburgh) or Toronto (assuming Rochester). Just wondering if either of those options would have been better. I’m in Saratoga.

    • You’ve got it! Rochester was where I was. I needed the Turkish flight at 1PM (which is the only flight to Europe around that time, except for earlier ones to London) and the flights from Roc and BUF were cancelled that morning. Believe it or not, the driving ended up being the easiest part! I wrote this post while in JFK and then our flight left like 4.5 hours late – 1.5 of which was on the runway!
      Since I missed my flight in Turkey, I had to fight with them to even try to get to my final destination because they said they couldn’t book a partner flight. In the end, I had to pay for it and am working on getting it reimbursed now. Since I did this flight with Chase, that should help a bit. 🙂