The Bomb Cyclone Is Still Snarling Travel Into the Weekend

Jan 5, 2018

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While center of the bomb cyclone has passed north of the US, effects are lingering across the east coast with continuing flight cancellations, an airport still closed and plenty of out-of-place aircraft due to diverted flights.

In Boston, 13.4 inches of snow blew through the city Thursday. Nearby Providence recorded 14.1 inches of snow and Worchester saw an incredible 16.8 inches of snow. Some parts of Maine got over two feet of snow:

In addition to the vast amounts of snow, the massive bomb cyclone drove coastal flooding in parts of New England. Even worse, this flooding is quickly turning into ice due to the freezing temperatures.

Recovery and cleanup efforts will be hampered through the Northeast by brutally cold temperatures and strong winds.

While not much positive came out of the blizzard, at least the temperatures in Iowa spelled out a famous telephone number:

Airport closures: New York’s airports were especially hard hit Thursday, leaving eerily empty skies over the region. JFK was struck with at least 829 cancellations as the airport shut down for hours due to the blizzard conditions. Almost 80% of flights were cancelled at Newark (EWR), racking up over 1,049 flight cancellations.

However, the one airport still closed is all the way south in Charleston, SC. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, CHS closed its airfield around 9am Thursday. The expected reopen date? Tuesday, January 9. However, according to the airport’s social media account, “airlines will be able to resume flights in and out of Charleston International Airport by late Friday but no later than Saturday morning.”

Friday flight cancellations: With all of the cancelled and diverted flights on Thursday, airlines have a lot of out-of-place aircraft and crew. That means cancellations are continuing into Friday as airlines attempt to recover. FlightAware’s cancellation tracker has chalked up 1,190 cancellations so far Friday. Hardest hit airports are:

  • Boston (BOS): 232 cancellations (31% departures, 13% arrivals)
  • New York’s JFK: 292 cancellations (20% of departures and arrivals)
  • New York’s LaGuardia (LGA): 224 cancellations (31% departures, 17% arrivals)
  • Newark (EWR): 170 cancellations
  • Charleston (CHS): 81 cancellations (60% departures, 57% arrivals)
  • Chicago (ORD): 60 cancellations

Airline waivers: For those with flexible schedules, airlines are happy to allow flyers a opportunity to rebook flights. This frees up spots on flights for those who need to travel while those with flexible itineraries can avoid delays and cancellations.

Remember, if you can’t delay your itinerary, airlines aren’t going to be responsible for paying for your meals or hotels in the case of weather-related delays/cancellations. But some top cards have flight delay/cancellation insurance that can reimburse you for weather issues, including the Citi Prestige ($500 per passenger for 3+ hour delay), the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay) and Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay).

As of 10:30 Friday morning, here are the travel waivers covering this storm:

Air France

  • Travel dates: January 4-6
  • Airports affected: New York Kennedy (JFK) and Boston (BOS)
  • Rebook travel through January 12
  • Specific flight cancellations found here.

Alaska Airlines

  • Travel dates: January 4-5
  • Airports affected: Boston (BOS); Charleston (CHS); New York – Kennedy (JFK); New York – LaGuardia (LGA); Newark (EWR); Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by January 3
  • Rebooked travel must be completed by January 10
  • You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded on or before January 10, 2018. Rebook your flight or apply for a refund online.

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: January 4-6
  • Airports affected: Albany, New York (ALB); Bangor, Maine (BGR); Boston, Massachusetts (BOS); Burlington, Vermont (BTV); Hartford, Connecticut (BDL); Long Island, New York (ISP); Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT); Montreal, Canada (YUL); Newark, New Jersey (EWR); Newburgh, New York (SWF); New Haven, Connecticut (HVN); New York Kennedy, New York (JFK); New York LaGuardia, New York (LGA); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL); Portland, Maine (PWM); Providence, Rhode Island (PVD); Quebec, Canada (YQB); Westchester, New York (HPN)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by January 2
  • Rebook travel anytime between January 2-12
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.
  • Effective 10am Friday, normal operations expected at Washington, D.C (DCA), Philadelphia, Penn. (PHL), Newark (EWR), John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), Hartford, Conn. (BDL), Boston, Mass. (BOS)
  • Providence, R.I. (PVD): Operations will resume at 12 p.m. ET.
  • Long Island, N.Y. (ISP): All departures/arrivals canceled on Jan. 5. American plans to resume service Saturday, Jan. 6.
  • American will resume flights throughout the day to/from Bangor, Maine (BGR); Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT); Newburgh, New York (SWF); New Haven, Connecticut (HVN); Portland, Maine (PWM); and Westchester, New York (HPN).

Delta

  • Travel date: January 4-6
  • Airports covered: Albany, NY (ALB); Bangor, ME (BGR); Boston, MA (BOS); Burlington, VT (BTV); Hartford, CT ( BDL); Manchester, NH (MHT); New York John F Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York Laguardia, NY (LGA); Newark, NJ  (EWR); Portland, ME (PWM); Providence, RI (PVD); White Plains, NY (HPN)
  • Ticket must be reissued by January 12
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than January 12
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond January 12, 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. If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance.

Frontier

  • Travel dates: January 3-6
  • Airports covered: New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA); New York Islip, NY (ISP); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Trenton, NJ (TTN); Providence, RI (PVD)
  • Must have bought your ticket by January 2
  • Rebooked travel must be completed no later than: January 24
  • Customers who are ticketed to travel on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 or Thursday, January 6, 2018 may make one itinerary change – rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.
  • Specific flight cancellations listed here.

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Travel dates: January 4-5
  • Airports covered:  John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK)
  • Must have bought your ticket by January 3
  • Changes must be made and reticketed for new flights no later than January 11, 2018
  • In addition, for changes made on or before January 11, 2018, to new flights, any resulting difference in fare(s) will be waived provided that change is made to the same compartment (i.e. Coach to Coach or First/Business Class to First/Business Class) and there is no change in origin and destination.
  • For changes made to new flights after January 11, 2018, the change fee will be waived but applicable difference in fare will be collected.

JetBlue

  • Travel dates: January 5
  • Airports covered: Albany, NY (ALB); Bradley, CT (BDL); Boston, MA (BOS); Buffalo, NY (BUF); Newark, NY (EWR); White Plains, NY (HPN); New York, NY (JFK); New York, NY (LGA); Worcester, NY (ORH); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Portland, ME (PWM); Providence, RI (PVD); Rochester, NY (ROC); Newburgh, NY (SWF); Syracuse, NY (SYR)
  • Must have bought your ticket by January 2
  • Rebook travel anytime through January 11
  • To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. If you are already checked in for your flight, call JetBlue at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) for assistance with rebooking or a credit.

Southwest

  • Travel dates: January 3-5
  • Airports covered: Charleston (CHS)
  • Travel dates: January 4-6
  • Airports covered: Philadelphia (PHL); Albany (ALB); Boston (BOS); Hartford (BDL); Islip/Long Island (ISP); Manchester (MHT); New York/LaGuardia (LGA); Newark (EWR); Portland (PWM); Providence (PVD)
  • Customers who are holding reservations on these dates, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with Southwest’s accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

Spirit

  • Travel date: January 4-5
  • Airports covered: Atlantic City, NJ (ACY); Boston, MA (BOS); Hartford, CT (BDL); New York, NY (LGA); Newark, NJ (EWR); Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Modification Charge/Fare Difference waived through: January 10, 2018
  • After this date the modification charge is waived, but a fare difference may apply.

United

  • Travel date: January 4-5
  • Airports covered: Albany, NY (ALB); Bangor, ME (BGR); Boston, MA (BOS); Burlington, VT (BTV); Hartford, CT (BDL); Manchester, NH (MHT); Montréal, QC, CA (YUL); New York/Newark, NJ (EWR); New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York-LaGuardia, NY (LGA); Portland, ME (PWM); Providence, RI (PVD); Quebec City, QB, CA (YQB); White Plains, NY (HPN)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before January 8, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Virgin America

  • Travel dates: January 4-5
  • Airports covered: Boston (BOS); Charleston (CHS); New York – Kennedy  (JFK); New York – LaGuardia(LGA); Newark (EWR); Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: January 5
  • To modify an existing reservation during this period, you may contact [Virgin America’s] Call Center at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN* (877.359.8474) for assistance. Or manage your reservation online: Change your flight. Cancel or refund your flight.

Featured image by Rebecca Butala How / Getty Images

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