Airlines Allow Free Changes for Chicago Flights Ahead of Snow and Brutal Cold

Feb 2, 2018

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The temperatures have plummeted in Chicago and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s currently 11° F with a -3° F wild chill, and the Windy City is expecting another Groundhog Day winter storm.

While this one will be less epic than the 2011 Groundhog Day storm that dumped 21 inches of snow, the brutal cold and snowfall this weekend could still affect flights. So airlines are starting to issue travel waivers to allow travelers to rebook flights on different dates or connect through different cities.

So far, only American Airlines and United — both of which have hubs in Chicago — have released waivers. As the weather deteriorates, we will likely see more airlines release waivers.

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 Card ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay).

As of 10:00am Central Friday, here are the travel waivers covering this storm:

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: February 3-4
  • Airports affected: Chicago, Illinois (ORD)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by February 1
  • Rebook travel anytime between February 1-7
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.


  • Travel date: February 3-4
  • Airports covered: Chicago (ORD)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before February 7, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

No waivers (yet) from: Alaska, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Virgin America

Featured image by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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