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The formerly-Category 5 Hurricane Willa — which made landfall on the Mexican coast on Wednesday — is still causing havoc in North America. After pounding northwest Mexico and weakening to a remnant low, the storm has reorganized into a powerful nor’easter, which is sweeping through the Northeast Saturday. The storm is expected to bring heavy winds and rain, affecting travel through some of the busiest airspace in the world.

FlightAware’s flight cancellation tracker has already recorded 607 delays and 68 flight cancellations in the US today. But, that’s likely to get worse as winds and rain pick up. The Weather Channel reports that wind gusts of 65mph were recently recorded in New Jersey — not too far from the busy aviation hubs of New York City.

The hardest hit airports through 10am ET are:

  • New York’s Kennedy (JFK): 111 delays and 3 cancellations
  • Newark (EWR): 71 delays and 5 cancellations
  • Boston (BOS): 39 delays and 22 cancellations
  • New York’s LaGuardia (LGA): 17 delays and 4 cancellations
  • Nantucket (ACK): 10 cancellations

To help flexible travelers avoid the mess, seven airlines have issued travel waivers and at least six are allowing free changes to flight itineraries today. If you’re flying to, from or through the Northeast, you can use these to change your travel dates or route through another airport to avoid the storm:

Alaska

  • Travel dates: October 26-27
  • Covered airports: Boston (BOS); New York – Newark (EWR); New York – JFK (JFK); New York – La Guardia (LGA)
  • Must have purchased ticket by: October 27
  • Rebooked travel must occur between October 26 – November 5

American

  • Travel date: October 27
  • Covered airports: New York – JFK (JFK); New York – La Guardia (LGA); New York – Newark (EWR); Stewart Newburgh, New York (SWF); White Plains / Westchester County, New York (HPN)
  • Must have purchased ticket by: October 26
  • Rebooked travel must occur between October 26-30
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference. No changes in origin or destination are allowed.
  • Tip: Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.

Delta

  • Travel date: October 27
  • Covered airports: New York, NY – Kennedy (JFK); New York, NY – LaGuardia (LGA); Newark, NJ (EWR); Newburgh, NY (SWF); White Plains, NY (HPN)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: October 25
  • Tickets must be reissued by: October 30
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than October 30
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond October 30, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply.

JetBlue

  • Travel date: October 27
  • Covered airports: Boston, MA (BOS); New York, NY (JFK); New York, NY (LGA); Newark, NJ (EWR); Newburgh, NY (SWF); Providence, RI (PVD); Westchester County, NY (HPN); Worcester, MA (ORH)
  • Customers may rebook their flights for travel through October 30
  • Original travel must have been booked on or before October 25
  • Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment.
  • Make the change online in the ‘Manage Flights’ section of jetblue.com or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight.

Southwest

  • Travel date: October 27
  • Covered airports: Boston (BOS); Long Island/Islip MacArthur (ISP); Newark (EWR); New York LaGuardia (LGA); Philadelphia (PHL); Providence (PVD)
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through the cities listed above on Saturday, October 27, 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.
  • Customers who purchased their itinerary via Southwest.com or the mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device. Customers who did not purchase a ticket via Southwest.com — or who are traveling internationally — can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.

United

  • Travel date: October 27
  • Covered airports: New York/Newark, NJ (EWR); New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York-LaGuardia, NY (LGA)​; White Plains, NY (HPN)​
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing between October 26 and November 5, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.
  • For wholly rescheduled travel departing after November 5, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.

WestJet

  • Travel date: October 27
  • Covered airports: Boston (BOS) and LaGuardia (LGA)
  • To find out more about the change and cancel options due to these advisories, please call: WestJet flights: 1-888-937-8538 or WestJet Vacations: 1-877-737-7001

No waivers from: Allegiant, Frontier, Hawaiian, Spirit, Sun Country

Protect Your Travels

As we near the end of hurricane season and the beginning of the winter storm season, this nor’easter is yet another reminder to book flights with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. When I got stuck in Japan for four days due to a typhoon, I was very grateful for the Citi Prestige’s trip delay protection, which reimbursed $1,000 of our expenses.

The Citi Prestige (which is not currently accepting applications) used to be my go-to for booking flights before a recent devaluation to the card’s travel benefits knocked it out of its top spot. Currently, I’m using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book my flights going forward. Other top choices are the Chase Sapphire Preferred CardCiti / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Citi Premier Card.

However, the Citi Prestige looks to make a glorious return soon with 5x earning on air travel while also retaining solid travel benefits. When the card relaunches in January, it will likely become my go-to yet again.

Featured image by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This is one of the top premium cards out there since you earn 3x on all travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining and have access to great perks like a $300 travel credit each cardmember year, 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you get elite travel benefits like Global Entry application fee rebate, Priority Pass Select and special rental car privileges.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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