Snow Airport Christmas time is here again, and with the joy that the holiday season brings, comes the icy, cold weather of the winter season. During the month of December, inclement aviation weather (such as thick fog, heavy snow and ice) causes hundreds of commercial flight delays and cancellations out of notorious “cold weather airports,” such as JFK and Chicago O’Hare. Private jet travelers instead rely on jet charter flights to travel safely and on-time during the holiday season. Recently, The Weather Channel (TWC) released a list of the worst weather airports in the United States for commercial airline flights, based on national delay statistics and meteorological information. In order to prepare private jet travelers for cold weather flying this holiday season, Stratos Jet Charters has compiled a list of the Top Five Worst Weather Destinations for Private Jet Charter, based on charter traffic patterns and common weather delays. We have also listed alternate airports for each destination and included important tips on how you can better avoid weather delays. Happy Holidays!

#5: Lake Tahoe, California

Weather Impacts: Fog, Snow, Rain, Ice Alternative Airports: Carson (CXP), Lake Tahoe (TVL) Who could deny the charm and appeal of Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada at Christmas time? With its snow-covered mountains, spectacular lake views, and world-class ski resorts, Lake Tahoe is the perfect holiday destination for skiers and nature enthusiasts alike. With an average annual snowfall of 400 inches, it’s no wonder that skiing is the main attraction in Lake Tahoe. However, the same snow that blankets the surrounding Sierra Mountains, is the same snow that causes problems for jet charter fights in and out of Lake Tahoe. During the wintertime, Lake Tahoe is frequently subject to snow storms, freezing rain and limited visibility conditions. If your holiday plans include a luxury vacation in Lake Tahoe, always make sure that your private aircraft is equipped with de-icing equipment. Stowing your aircraft in a heated hangar can also prevent ice from forming on your aircraft. In addition, you should plan on utilizing one of Lake Tahoe’s listed alternative airports since the nearby Truckee/ Lake Tahoe airport (TRK) does not offer any fueling or de-icing services.

#4: San Francisco, California

Weather Impacts: Fog Alternate Airports: Oakland (OAK), San Jose (SJC), Hayward (HWD) Compared to more wintry destinations, it may seem strange that San Francisco is one of the worst weather holiday destinations in the U.S.A  After all, the “City by the Bay” is located in sunny California; a getaway destination for most Northeast travelers during the winter time. Stranger still, San Francisco is not prone to snow, fog or ice during the winter. So what makes San Francisco the fourth worst weather holiday destination for private jet charter flights?  Simple, fog.  Although the low-lying clouds that collectively produce fog are more prevalent in San Francisco in the summertime, they can still cause serious problems for charter flights during the winter time. Fog is extremely detrimental to private jet flights because it limits runway visibility needed by pilots for safe operation. Working with an experienced private flight advisor to plan your charter flight to a less foggier destination (such as San Jose or Hayward) can eliminate fog delays and save your valuable time this holiday season.

#3: Boston, Massachusetts

Weather Impacts: Winds, Snow, Low-Lying Clouds Alternate Airports: Bedford (BED), Beverly (BVY) It’s no surprise that the historic city of Boston, Massachusetts is a popular winter destination for holiday travelers. During the holiday season, the Northeastern city plays host to a wide variety of Yuletide festivities, from the annual Faneuil Hall Christmas tree lighting to world-class performances of The Nutcracker. It does come as somewhat of a surprise, however, that the city is actually home to the “windiest major airport in the United States” (most holiday travelers would probably name Chicago O’Hare.) Surrounded by water on three sides, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), is constantly subject to the effects of cold weather, from snow storms and gusty winds to low-lying clouds and limited visibility. Even a typical Northeast frontal passage can yield wind gusts of 30 mph to 40 mph at Boston Logan International, according to TWC. Boston Logan also ranks as number five for average annual snowfall (41.8 inches) and days with measurable precipitation (126 days a year). The best way to avoid fog and wind delays in Boston is to stay in constant contact with your charter flight coordinator who can help you make last-minute changes, should your flight encounter inclement weather.

#2: New York, New York

Weather Impacts: Rain, Low Clouds, Winds, Snow Alternate Airports: Teterboro (TEB), Farmingdale (FRG) Most private jet travelers would probably agree that New York City is one of the best cities to visit at Christmas time. Every year, the “Big Apple” transforms from a global center of finance and trade into a dazzling “winter wonderland” of Christmas lights and festivities. Every year, thousands of people travel to New York to take part in the Christmas activities, from ice skating at Rockefeller Center to Christmas caroling in Central Park. Without a doubt, New York City offers a holiday festivity for everyone. When planning your holiday trip to New York, always keep in mind that the city is especially vulnerable to inclement weather conditions during the wintertime. In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, private jet flights to New York are constantly delayed due to heavy rain, low clouds, gusty winds and snow. Working closely with an experienced private flight advisor to identify all relevant back-up options in and out of New York is the best way to avoid weather delays this holiday season.

#1: Chicago, Illinois

Weather Impacts: Rain, Snow, Thunderstorms, Low Clouds, Wind, Fog Alternate Airports: Chicago Executive (PWK), Lewis University (LOT), Dupage (DPA) If you’re dreaming of a “White Christmas,” Chicago, Illinois is the perfect holiday destination for you. Among other things, Chicago is notorious for accumulating several inches of snow during the wintertime. In fact, the “Windy City” ranks number five for most measurable snow days a year (30 days), according to TWC. But before you start planning snowball fights in Millennium Park, know that Chicago is the worst weather destination in the U.S. for private jet charter weather delays. Not only is the Midwestern city prone to heavy snowfall, but heavy rain showers, thunderstorms, low clouds and of course, gusty winds, during the holiday season. On a cold day in December, any one of these factors could delay or even cancel your charter flight to Chicago. Fortunately, Chicago is home to several conveniently-located airports that can be easily accessed by private jet aircraft. If your charter flight to Chicago is delayed due to weather, your charter pilots can typically divert to an alternate airport where weather conditions are more favorable.