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What You Can Do If Weather Disrupts Your Thanksgiving Travel Plans

Nov. 27, 2013
10 min read
What You Can Do If Weather Disrupts Your Thanksgiving Travel Plans
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With a massive Noreaster bearing down on the East Coast, Atlanta being slammed with storms, dozens of other airports affected during the busiest travel weekend of the year and 43 million Americans expected to fly, I know that many folks' travel plans are being affected over Thanksgiving so I wanted to put together a few tips and a handy consolidated resource of the current travel advisories and flight change and refund policies of the major airlines so that you don’t get stranded this weekend.


If you do think your travel plans are in jeopardy, first check out this post on Tips for Weather-Related Flight Cancellations where I cover issues like dealing with gate and ticket agents, long airline hold times, and leveraging travel agents and sites like ExpertFlyer to get your travel plans back on track.

The good news is that airlines are allowing customers to reschedule their travel plans and waiving customary change and cancellation fees. The bad news is - it might mean missing Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

If you have travel coming up anywhere in the affected zone and your plans are flexible, I would try to change them as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the less chance you’ll have of rebooking anytime soon as the airlines scramble to adjust flight schedules for after the storm and their call centers become overwhelmed, so better to be proactive.

The major airlines have already posted links to their advisories and change policies specific to Thanksgiving travel on their homepages, but here is a consolidated list by airline of affected dates, airports and what fees you can expect to be waived as well as contact information for making changes.

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American’s travel advisory is posted here. The airline is offering customers the ability to change their flight plans if traveling from affected East Coast 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 to winter weather in the Northeast U.S., American Airlines offers you the convenience to change your plans. You may change flights as shown if your itinerary includes any of the listed airports and you are ticketed to travel on American Airlines.

If you are traveling to, through or from:

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

On the following dates: November 27, 2013
And your ticket was issued no later than: November 26, 2013
You may travel: November 26 - 29, 2013
Original inventory required? Yes

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

To change travel dates, contact our 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 our Worldwide Reservations Numbers page.

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Unfortunately, Atlanta's Hartsfield airport - the world's busiest - was also one of the most adversely affected and Delta has already canceled and delayed hundreds of flights out of there, though it looks like operations are getting back underway and they might be able to move you if your flight is still ahead.

You can find Delta’s most current Travel Advisory information here. 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 cities on Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta-coded flights during the specified time periods listed below.

Affected Airports:

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

Eligible Dates:

Impacted Travel Date: November 27, 2013

Ticket must be issued on or before: November 30, 2013

Rebooked travel must begin no later than: November 30, 2013

When rescheduled travel occurs beyond November 30, 2013, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue.

Changes to origins and destinations may result in an increase in fare. Any difference in fare between your original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking.

You can now edit your itinerary here at, or you may contact Reservation Sales to make changes to your itinerary. Additional collection in fares may apply. Check flight status frequently for up-to-the-minute info about your flight plans, or get updates sent directly to your wireless device or email with Delta Messenger.


JetBlue has issued policies affecting travel to its Northeast hubs. You can find the most up-to-date information on fee waivers and affected airports here. Here's the official line from their Travel Advisory, though:

Due to inclement weather in the Northeast we will waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 to/from the following cities:

NYC Metro

  • New York (JFK)
  • New York (LGA)
  • Newark, NJ (EWR)
  • Westchester County, NY (HPN)
  • Newburgh, NY (SWF)

BOS Metro

  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Worcester, MA (ORH)
  • Hartford, CT (BDL)
  • Syracuse, NY (SYR)
  • Buffalo, NY (BUF)
  • Rochester, NY (ROC)
  • Portland, ME (PWM)
  • Providence, RI (PVD)
  • Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
  • Burlington, VT (BTV)

Customers may rebook their flights for travel through Thursday, November 28, 2013 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, November 25, 2013.

To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. For further assistance please call us at 1-800-JETBLUE(538-2583).


For now, Southwest is operating their scheduled service to/from all airports and there's no travel advisory up on their site, but that’s likely to change in the next 24 hours. You can find up-to-date travel advisories here when they are posted and check your flight status.

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You can find all this information on United’s Travel Notices page. As the situation progresses, though, you can get all the up-to-date information on weather and operations at the airline’s Operations page. You should be able to make changes online, or by calling 1-800-864-8331.

For now, the following airports are affected:

  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • Washington, D.C. (DCA – National)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD – Dulles)
  • Cleveland, OH (CLE)
  • New York/Newark, NJ (EWR - Liberty)
  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • New York, NY (LGA - LaGuardia)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • White Plains, NY (HPN)

For all, the following dates apply:

Original Travel Dates:
November 26–27, 2013

Final Travel must be completed by:
End of Validity of ticket (one year from date of issue)​​

Flight Changes:

  • Fees for same-day flight changes are waived within 24 hours of original departure.
  • For all other changes, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply.
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The airline has posted its current travel advisory and policies here but here are the details:

Cities Affected

Halifax, Canada ; Montreal, Canada ; Ottawa, Canada ; Quebec City, Canada ; Toronto, Canada (Pearson Int'l Airport) ; Hartford, CT ; New Haven, CT; Washington, DC (Reagan National) ; Washington, DC (Dulles Int'l Airport) ; Bangor, ME ; Portland, ME ; Baltimore, MD ; Boston, MA ; Manchester, NH; Newark, NJ ; Albany, NY ; Binghamton, NY ; Buffalo, NY ; Elmira, NY ; Islip, NY ; Ithaca, NY ; New York, NY (JFK Airport) ; New York, NY (LaGuardia); Newburgh, NY ; Rochester, NY ; Syracuse, NY ; White Plains, NY ; Allentown, PA ; Erie, PA ; Harrisburg, PA ; Philadelphia, PA ; Pittsburgh, PA ; Scranton, PA; State College, PA ; Williamsport, PA ; Providence, RI ; Burlington, VT ; Charleston, WV ; Huntington, WV

Date Range:
11/26/2013 1:00 AM ET through 11/27/2013 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 November 26 or 27, your travel date may be changed to travel November 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 or December 1.

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

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


Affected airports at this time include only Boston, Philadelphia, Newark EWR and New York JFK. Find the latest news and updates on the travel advisories page here, but the official statement is this:

Due to winter storms forecast for the Northeast region that may cause flight delays, Virgin America strongly encourages all travelers headed to or departing from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) 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: Guests with confirmed flights departing or originating from Boston, Newark, JFK and Philadelphia on Wednesday, Nov. 27, who wish to avoid inclement weather and change their flights, may do so without paying change fees or the difference in fares.

Guests can change to available flights between Nov. 26-Nov. 29, 2013 on the same route as the original itinerary and within the same class of service to avoid any applicable change fees.
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