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Winter Storm to Impact Travel in Chicago Area

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A powerful winter storm heading for Chicago on Friday is already causing airlines serving the region to issue travel advisories.

According to WGNTV.com, the storm is expected to move south from Alaska and bring high winds and rain Thursday before a full cold front arrives Friday. Forecasters believe the snow will begin falling Friday night into Saturday morning.

With wind gusts reaching 50 miles per hour and up to 12 inches of snow expected through Sunday in Chicago and the surrounding Great Lakes areas, travelers could be in store for unfavorable road conditions and cancellations at local airports.

Both American and United airlines have issued winter weather advisories for travelers flying to or from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on January 11-12, which means the change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new flights departing on or before January 14.

To be eligible for the waived change fees, customers have to rebook their travel in the originally ticketed cabin and between the same cities. The tickets also need to have been purchased on or before January 8.

In addition, local authorities are warning travelers to avoid driving if possible when the snow begins falling. If people still need to hit the road, officials are urging them to be cautious and aware of the slippery conditions.

Travelers should also be checking with rail services like Amtrak, as the winter storm could result in delays and cancellations.

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Strange Odor at Oakland Airport Sends Travelers to the Hospital

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We have seen more issues with strange odors on airplanes in the last year or so than at any time, some so severe they required a diverted landing.

Now comes word that another incident has taken place, only this time it was actually inside the airport.

Four people were taken to local hospitals by the Oakland (Calif.) Fire Department on Tuesday after an unknown substance began giving off a strange odor at Oakland International Airport.

According to Fox News, the odor came from a small box at one of the ticketing counters that is used to discard items that cannot be brought on a plane via carry-on bag – water bottles, bottles of cologne or mouthwash larger than three ounces, etc.

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The airport played it safe and called the fire department, which sent a Hazmat crew according to the NBC TV affiliate in the Bay Area. There was no disruption to airport services, though four people were taken to the hospital to be checked out for precautionary reasons.

This is the latest in a series of numerous reports of odors emanating from a plane or airport just in the last year or so alone, much less beyond that time frame.

Some have been fumes that have forced flights to land.

Some have forced flights to divert to other airports.

Some have been so overwhelming that passengers and crew were hospitalized.

And some have even been visible – if you like your airplane cabin filling with an unknown fog.

The Oakland Fire Dept. is still investigating the cause of the odor.

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