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When to Book Your Summer Flights to Avoid Delays, According to a Meteorologist

There’s nothing worse than being stuck at the airport with flight delays, but one meteorologist said being smart about when you schedule your flight may help avoid that nightmare scenario. 

That’s because it turns out summer thunderstorms and flight times can go hand-in-hand, said Chris Bianchi, a meteorologist with NBC affiliate 9News in Denver. His advice came in a TikTok video, which has since amassed more than 7,600 likes and more than 300 comments.

“Never book a flight in the afternoon, or especially, at night during the summertime months in the United States,” Bianchi warned. “The chances of there being a thunderstorm somewhere in the United States in the afternoon or evening are pretty high during the summertime months … if you get a thunderstorm in the wrong place and it impacts your flight, you could be completely screwed.”

The advice came after Bianchi “broke the one rule you should never, ever break” and ended up stuck himself at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport in the wee hours of the morning as part of an hours-long delay

Of course, afternoon and evening flights (and delays for that matter) aren’t always avoidable. So Bianchi said it’s important to be prepared by downloading flight radar apps like FlightAware and Flightradar24 to track your inbound flight.

“Let’s say you’re flying from New York to Miami and your flight is coming from Chicago or it’s coming from Minneapolis, check the weather in those places,” he said. “Because if there’s weather in those places, there’s a pretty good chance your flight… is going to get impacted as a result.”

As a backup, Bianchi said travelers can also book a second fully refundable flight for a few hours later or even the next day “otherwise, dear folks, you’ll end up like me: some dude doing a TikTok at a deserted Terminal B of LaGuardia Airport at 1:45 in the morning waiting patiently for my 4 a.m. flight back home to Denver.”

In general, it’s a good idea to book flights early in the morning any time of year since the plane is more likely to be at the airport from the night before and delays have not yet compounded.

Bianchi’s advice comes ahead of a record-setting summer and a busy July Fourth in which the  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) predicts more than 32 million travelers will fly over the holiday period from June 27 to July 8.

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