As The New England Patriots arrived at their Super Bowl team headquarters at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Ariz., on Monday, the team's fans back in New England were bracing for Winter Storm Juno, a powerful blizzard with 60 miles per hour wind gusts that hammered the region and left as much as three feet of snow in areas.
The blizzard began Monday night, continued through early Wednesday morning and left area schools closed for much of the week – Boston public schools are scheduled to re-open Friday and some Cape Cod schools won't open until after the Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots arrived in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX and met the media at the team hotel on Monday, January 26, 2015.
Boston's Logan Airport was closed on Tuesday and hundreds of flights were cancelled, leaving thousands of travelers looking to reschedule flights in and out of the region.
But believe it or not, the timing of the storm worked out quite well for Patriots fans flying out to Arizona for Sunday's game. It did not prevent the team from leaving at its scheduled time on Monday and it was gone and cleared well enough so that fans flying out Thursday through Saturday could make their scheduled trips.
"The people we have leave Thursday, Friday and Saturday," said Jay Smith of Sports Travels and Tours in Hatfield, Mass. "It came early enough. If it had come Thursday or Friday it would have been a disaster."
Smith said his Western Massachusetts sports tour group had more than 100 people booked on trips to Arizona for the game.
"As long as everything stays the same, our people traveling out for the game should be fine. Those with problems were the people trying to get out early, but we haven't had problems and hopefully it stays that way," Smith added.
Boston is indeed scheduled to get more snow Thursday night, Friday and Saturday, but accumulations are only expected to reach an additional three to four inches – totals that could delay flights, but not likely prevent fans from getting to Glendale for Super Bowl XXIX.
"Most of our trips leave Friday," Prime Sports agent Meredith King said. "The blizzard didn't affect those trips and many of our packages don't include airfare so those fans have made their own arrangements."
Wynn Voeks from Benchwarmersports.com agreed that the blizzard came early enough, thankfully, to keep Super Bowl travelers on schedule.
"We have had some people re-arrange flights if they were leaving Wednesday, but honestly, most everyone is leaving Friday and should be able to make it out," Voeks said.
Mark Pettiglio, a Patriots season ticket member from Watertown, Mass., flew out of Logan on Southwest Airlines on Wednesday around 4 p.m. and left on time. He flew to San Diego and then drove through the night to Arizona.
"We got shoveled out and our flight left on schedule," Pettiglio said. "I can't say we weren't sweating a little bit on Tuesday as the blizzard hit, but we made it out, we have arrived in Arizona and we are excited for the Patriots to win another Super Bowl."
Southwest had 300 flights cancelled nationwide on Tuesday, including 25 Logan Airport Departures, 16 departures from TF Green Airport in Rhode Island and another 10 from Manchester, N.H.