Airline Travel Waivers for January 2016
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Winter weather can throw a wrench in the works of even the best-prepared airports. If you’re planning to fly on a snow day, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather and your carrier of choice — many airlines issue travel waivers granting free flight changes, but often not until the very last minute. You can use these waivers to fly out before or after the storm, usually in the same class of service and without spending a dime on the change. If you come prepared, however, you can even end up ahead — while a cancellation may seem like a major annoyance on the surface, you can certainly use it to your advantage.
With Winter Storm Jonas approaching the East Coast this weekend, airlines have begun to roll out their waivers. If you don’t see your carrier’s waiver below, keep an eye on this page, as we’ll be updating it throughout the week. Also, be sure to follow @thepointsguy on Twitter to learn when a new airline issues a waiver of its own.
Update: American’s travel waiver now covers a huge number of airports (42!), including the NYC and Boston metro areas. Fees will be waived for travel originally scheduled from January 21 through January 24, as long as travel commences by January 27.
American’s weather waiver covers just nine airports, and currently excludes New York and cities farther north, such as Boston. If you’re flying to, from or through the airports above between January 21 and 24, you can change your flight to depart between January 20 and 26 without any fees. You must rebook in the same class of service and you can’t change your origin or destination, though you may be able to change the routing (moving from a connecting flight to a nonstop, for example).
Delta’s waiver covers 19 airports, allowing you to make free changes to flights scheduled between January 22 and 24. Your ticket must be reissued by January 27 and rebooked travel must begin by the same date. Delta permits free changes online, so you should be able to get rebooked without calling a reservations agent.
Frontier’s travel waiver allows you make free changes to flights currently scheduled for January 21 through January 24 flying to, from or through the eight airports listed above. This policy only covers tickets purchased by January 19, and allows you to make one itinerary change free of charge, assuming you’re rebooking to fly by January 31 and your origin and destination remain the same.
JetBlue has published two travel waivers. The first (above) covers the NY and Boston metro areas, including the airports listed here. For these particular airports, only flights currently scheduled to operate to, from or through those cities on January 23 may be changed for free, as long as the new flights depart by January 29.
JetBlue published a second waiver cover the DC metro area (above). This waiver covers travel on both January 22 and January 23, and like the Northeast-area waiver, permits travelers to select new flights departing on or before January 29 completely free of charge.
Southwest’s weather waiver covers the nine airports listed above. If you’re flying to, from or through those airports on January 22 or 23, you can make a change for free either on southwest.com or by calling a representative at 800-435-9792.
United is usually last out of the gate with its travel waiver, so it’s a bit of a shocker to see the airline leading the way this time around. United’s initial waiver covers 27 airports — if you’re traveling from, to or through any of the airports above between January 22 and 24, you can change your flight for free. You won’t pay anything at all when you travel between January 20 and 27, and while you can also change your flight to a later date, you may need to pay a difference in fare.
Virgin America’s travel waiver allows you to make free changes to flights traveling to, from or through Washington, D.C., New York, Newark or Boston between January 22 and 24. Your new flight can depart on or before March 10, with the same routing and class of service. Virgin America is waiving change fees and fare differences assuming your flight meets the qualifications above.