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Winter Storm Delays and Cancellations – What To Do If Weather Disrupts Your Travel Plans

by on January 21, 2014 · 2 comments

in Points Guy Pointers

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The Midwest and Great Lakes are covered in snow, the East Coast is hunkering down before a huge storm, the federal government shut down in anticipation of bad weather and over 2,000 flights are already canceled with 3,000 more delayed – it’s going to be a tough day for travelers across much of the US. If you have travel plans, chances are you’re biting your nails waiting to see if your flights actually get out, so I wanted to put together an updated list of the current travel advisories and flight change and refund policies of the major airlines in case you need to make some changes to your plans.

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After checking your flights at the sites below, you can also take a look at my Top 10 Tips to Deal With Winter Flight Delays and Cancellations where I discuss strategies like dealing with gate agents, long airline phone hold times, travel agents and sites like ExpertFlyer to get your travel plans back on track.

In situations like this, airlines will usually let you reschedule your travel plans and will waive customary change and cancellation fees. However, if your travel is affected, I would try to change your plans as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the less flexibility and choices you’ll have of alternate flights, and the more likely you’ll be to face huge hold times as call centers get overwhelmed.

The major airlines have already posted links to their advisories and change policies during the current weather situation, so here is a consolidated list of affected airlines, airports and travel dates.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.25.23 AMAMERICAN AIRLINES

American’s travel advisory is posted here. The airline is offering customers the ability to change their flight plans if traveling from affected Northeast and South airports (see list below) and the ticket reissue charge will be waived for one ticket change on tickets in the same booking class. Here’s the official announcement.

Due winter weather in the Eastern U.S., American Airlines offers customers the convenience to change their plans. Customers ticketed to travel to or from the airports listed may change flights as shown below.

If you are traveling to, through or from:

  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Charleston, WV (CRW)
  • Harrisburg, PA (MDT)
  • Hartford, CT (BDL)
  • New York Kennedy, NY (JFK)
  • New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Richmond, VA (RIC)
  • Washington Dulles, VA (IAD)
  • Washington Reagan Nat’l, DC (DCA)
  • Westchester County / White Plains, NY (HPN)

On the following dates: January 21-22, 2014
And your ticket was issued no later than: January 20, 2014
You may travel: January 20-24, 2014
Original inventory required? No

The ticket reissue charge will be waived for one ticket change.

To change travel dates, contact Reservations personnel at 1-800-433-7300 within the United States or Canada. If you are calling from outside the United States or Canada, please check the Worldwide Reservations Numbers page.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.27.17 AMDELTA

You can find Delta’s most current Travel Advisory information here. And here is the airline’s official policy as of now:

If your flight is canceled or significantly delayed, you are entitled to a refund. Even if your flight is not canceled, you may make a one-time change to your ticket without fee if you are scheduled to travel to, from, or through the following destination(s) on Delta, Delta Connection®, or Delta-coded flights during the specified time periods listed below.

Affected Airports

Allentown, PA (ABE)
Baltimore, MD (BWI)
Boston, MA (BOS)
Harrisburg, PA (MDT)
Hartford, CT (BDL)
Manchester, NH (MHT)
New York, NY – Kennedy (JFK)
New York, NY – LaGuardia (LGA)
Newark, NJ (EWR)
Newburgh, NY (SWF)
Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
Providence, RI (PVD)
Scranton, PA (AVP)
Washington, DC – Dulles (IAD)
Washington, DC – Reagan National (DCA)
White Plains, NY (HPN)

Impacted Travel Dates: Jan 21-22, 2014
Ticket must be reissued on/before and travel must commence by: Jan 25, 2014

You can now edit your itinerary here at delta.com, or you may contact Reservation Sales to make changes to your itinerary.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.31.06 AMJETBLUE

You can find JetBlue’s current weather policy here. The official line from their Travel Advisory is:

Due to the weather in the Northeast we will waive change fees and fare differences for customers traveling on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 through Wednesday, January 22, 2014 to/from the following cities:

  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Buffalo, NY (BUF)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD)
  • Hartford Springfield, CT (BDL)
  • New York (JFK)
  • New York (LGA)
  • Newburgh, NY (SWF)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Providence, RI (PVD)
  • Raleigh/Durham, NC (RDU)
  • Reagan National Airport (DCA)
  • Richmond, VA (RIC)
  • Rochester, NY (ROC)
  • Syracuse, NY (SYR)
  • Washington Dulles (IAD)
  • Westchester County, NY (HPN)
  • Worcester, MA (ORH)

Customers may rebook their flights for travel through Saturday, January 25, 2014 prior to the departure of their originally scheduled flight. Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund. Original travel must have been booked on or before Monday, January 20, 2014.

To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. For further assistance please call 1-800-JETBLUE (1-800-538-2583). Customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight online prior to leaving for the airport. Customers with web-enabled cell phones and PDAs may check flight status at mobile.jetblue.com.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.35.50 AMSOUTHWEST

You can find Southwest’s current travel advisories here. Here’s the official policy:

Southwest Airlines is monitoring a storm system forecasted to bring wintry conditions to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  As winter weather conditions develop, there is a possibility that our scheduled flight service may be disrupted (delayed, diverted, and/or cancelled).  With this in mind, Customers holding reservations for travel on the dates noted to/from/through the Cities listed below are eligible to reschedule their flight in accordance with our accommodation procedures.

Here are the affected airports:

Though you need to check your specific airport for the affected travel dates and policies, as of now, it looks like all of them are for travel today through 12pm ET tomorrow, January 22. Terms for most of the airports also look identical, but for an example, here’s the Boston Logan notice:

Customers holding reservations for travel to/from Boston Logan (BOS) on 6pm ET Tuesday, January 21 thru 12pm ET Wednesday, January 22 are eligible to reschedule their flight in accordance with our accommodation procedures.

To rebook your travel online, please click here. Customers who did not purchase a ticket via southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Service Representative. For specific flight information, please check Flight Status Information. Additionally, Customers holding reservations for a flight that is cancelled to/from Boston Logan (BOS) may request a refund for an unused ticket/travel itinerary.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.40.33 AMUNITED

United’s Travel Notices page has all its current flight change/cancellation information, which states:  Current as of Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:40 AM Central. Information is updated as it is received. Please visit Today’s Operations for the current status of our operations.

For travel from the following airports, the policy is:

Original Travel Dates: January 21, 2014

Final Travel must be completed by: End of Validity of ticket (one year from date of issue)​​. Fees for same-day flight changes are waived within 24 hours of original departure (this might change as the storm worsens and delays lengthen, though – my addition). For all other changes, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply.

  • New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • New York, NY (LGA – LaGuardia)
  • White Plains, NY (HPN)​
  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • Washington, DC (DCA  National)
  • Washington, DC (IAD  Dulles)

And for Chicago O’Hare, all the change information is the same, but affected travel dates include January 20-21.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.46.12 AMUS AIRWAYS

The airline has posted its current travel advisory here and here are the details:

Cities Affected

Halifax, Canada ; Hartford, CT ; New Haven, CT ; Washington, DC (Reagan National) ; Washington, DC (Dulles Int’l Airport) ; Baltimore, MD ; Salisbury, MD ; Boston, MA ; Newark, NJ ; Islip, NY ; New York, NY (LaGuardia) ; New York, NY (JFK Airport) ; Newburgh, NY ; White Plains, NY ; Allentown, PA ; Harrisburg, PA ; Philadelphia, PA ; Scranton, PA ; Providence, RI ; Charlottesville, VA ; Lynchburg, VA ; Richmond, VA ; Roanoke, VA ; Charleston, WV ; Huntington, WV

Date Range

1/21/2014 1:00 AM ET through 1/22/2014 11:59 PM ET

Revised Ticket Policy

We’ve relaxed our change-fee policies. If your trip is affected, you can change your trip online (in most cases) – we’ll waive your change fees!

Here’s how:

• Book the same origin and destination

• If you are scheduled to travel January 21 or 22, your travel date may be changed to travel January 20, 21, 22, 23 or 24.

You may have to pay to change your trip if:

• You change your origin and/or destination

• Your travel is outside the dates listed above

• There is a difference in fare

Please call if:

• Part or all of your trip is on another airline

• You don’t see a ‘Change my trip’ link when you pull up your reservation

Change your trip online at usairways.com/manageyourtrip

If you need help, please call 800-428-4322.

Travel Agents, please refer to this link.

Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 8.49.52 AMVIRGIN AMERICA

 Virgin’s special policy applies to flights to/from Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Philadelphia, Washington Dulles and Washington National at this time according to its travel advisories page. Here is the official statement:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Due to a forecast of snow for the Northeast U.S. on Jan. 21–22, 2014, guests traveling to or from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) are encouraged to remain up-to-date on their flight status before leaving for the airport by checking here or by signing up for Virgin America Flight Alerts here.

Travel Waiver for BOS, EWR, JFK, PHL, IAD and DCA: Guests with confirmed flights to or from BOS, EWR, JFK, PHL, IAD and DCA on Jan. 20-22, 2014, may change their travel dates without paying change fees or the difference in fares for travel through Jan. 24, 2014. Guests can change to available flights between Jan. 20-24, 2014 on the same route as the original itinerary and within the same class of service.

Travel agents: No waiver code is required if changes/cancels/exchanges are made within the restrictions of the current policy.

So there you have it – there are going to be a lot of affected flights and travelers. If you think your plans will change, or you have the flexibility to change them preemptively, I’d suggest doing so as soon as possible. In the meantime, be sure to stay up to date on the changing situation, and travel safely!

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  • Ven

    The shorter lines to the ticket agent are really the only thing that makes lounge access worth while.

  • Goat Rodeo

    and not having to hang out with the commoners/plebeians.

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