CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Staff at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport are preparing for potentially record-breaking travel numbers this holiday season, while also bracing for the impacts of a major winter storm. 

Airport leaders said 2019 was a record-breaking year for travel and similar numbers are already being seen this year. It is expected that 165,000 people will come through the Ford Airport through Jan. 2.

“We take weather very seriously,” said airport COO Alex Peric.

Airport staff is doubled for winter operations. Peric said they put a lot of resources into equipment. Of course, being prepared for winter weather does not mean there will not still be cancellations or delays. 

Peric said it is important for travelers to keep an eye on the forecast and their flight status as often as possible leading up to takeoff. Downloading the app for your individual airline as well as the airport app can help make things easier. Passengers should also keep in mind that each airline has its own individual policy.

“Airlines may cancel flights in advance, but it all depends on the conditions. Not only here, but also at the destination,” Peric explained. “Airlines and pilots take into consideration a lot of factors; wind visibility, the level and the volume, and the speed of the precipitation so we do ask travelers to be prepared.”

Some travelers rely on rideshare services to get to or from the airport. If driving conditions are treacherous, it might be harder to secure an Uber, Lyft or another rideshare service. If you are concerned about not being able to find a ride to or from the airport, many of those services offer an option to pre-schedule a ride. 

If you still have difficulty, there are a few other options to consider. Peric said taxis are a good option because they are required to stay until the last flight arrives. Rental car agents also stay until the final flight lands. There are also Rapid buses and hotel shuttles. If you find yourself needing to just wait it out, you can do that too. 

“People can stay here at the airport for rescheduling or checking with their airline. They can also get rescheduled wherever they need to go. Airlines may offer hotel rooms, but airlines are great about getting travelers to their ultimate destination and rescheduling flights that may be delayed or canceled.”

To make sure your travel goes as smoothly as possible, passengers are asked to arrive two hours before their scheduled departure to allow time for parking and getting through the TSA checkpoint. 

If you are traveling with gifts, you’ll want to keep them unwrapped, so there are no issues during security screening.