Flight Cancellations Spiking Due to Ice Storm, Airlines Waivers Now Cover 63 Airports

Feb 6, 2019

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Chicago airports are slowing to a crawl Tuesday afternoon as an ice storm begins to cripple the critical airline hub. But this is just the beginning of the aviation impacts from yet another winter storm. And airlines are preparing by issuing flight change fee waivers due to the storm.

According to the Ice Storm Warning currently issued for the Chicago area, up to 4/10ths of an inch of ice is expected. In preparation, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a ground delay program for Chicago O’Hare (ORD) starting at 4pm CT Tuesday. The FAA expects average delays to hit 230 minutes during the advisory:

Flight cancellations for Tuesday have already reached 481 — including 195 involving flights in/out of O’Hare and another 74 in/out of Chicago Midway (MDW). But, this number is likely to spike as the ice storm begins Tuesday afternoon.

So far, only four airlines have issued weather waivers so far, but these fee waivers already cover 63 airports.

Here’s what’s been issued so far:

In This Post

American Airlines

  • Travel date: February 5-6
  • Airports affected: Appleton, Wisconsin (ATW); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID); Chicago, Illinois (ORD); Detroit, Michigan (DTW); Dubuque, Iowa (DBQ); Duluth, Minnesota (DLH); Flint, Michigan (FNT); Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR); Green Bay, Wisconsin (GRB); Kalamazoo / Battle Creek, Michigan (AZO); La Crosse, Wisconsin (LSE); Lansing, Michigan (LAN); Madison, Wisconsin (MSN); Marquette, Michigan (MQT); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE); Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota (MSP); Moline, Illinois (MLI); Peoria, Illinois (PIA); Rochester, Minnesota (RST); South Bend, Indiana (SBN); Toledo, Ohio (TOL); Toronto, Canada (YYZ); Traverse City, Michigan (TVC); Waterloo, Iowa (ALO); Wausau, Wisconsin (CWA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by February 5
  • Rebook travel anytime between February 5-10
  • 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.

Delta

Great Lakes Winter Weather

  • Travel dates: Feb. 5-6
  • Airports covered: Alpena, MI (APN); Appleton, WI (ATW); Bloomington, IL (BMI); Cedar Rapids, IA (CID); Central Wisconsin, WI (CWA); Chicago Midway, IL (MDW); Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD); Des Moines, IA (DSM); Detroit, MI (DTW); Escanaba, MI (ESC); Flint, MI (FNT); Grand Rapids, MI (GRR); Green Bay, WI (GRB); Iron Mountain, MI (IMT); Kalamazoo, MI (AZO); Lansing, MI (LAN); Madison, WI (MSN); Marquette, MI (MQT); Milwaukee, WI (MKE); Moline, IL (MLI); Pellston, MI (PLN); Peoria, IL (PIA); Rhinelander, MI (RHI); Saginaw, MI (MBS); Sault Ste. Marie, MI (CIU); South Bend, IN (SBN); Traverse City, MI (TVC)
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: Feb. 9
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: Feb. 9
  • Must have purchased ticket by: Feb. 4
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond Feb. 9, 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. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.

Northeast Region Winter Weather

  • Travel dates: Feb. 6-7
  • Airports covered: Albany, NY (ALB); Bangor, ME (BGR); Binghamton, NY (BGM); Boston, MA (BOS); Buffalo, NY (BUF); Burlington, VT (BTV); Elmira, NY (ELM); Erie, PA (ERI); Hartford, CT (BDL); Ithaca, NY (ITH); Manchester, NH (MHT); Montreal, QC Canada (YUL); Ottawa, ON Canada (YOW); Portland, ME (PWM); Providence, RI (PVD); Rochester, NY (ROC); Syracuse, NY (SYR); Toronto, ON Canada (YYZ)
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: Feb. 10
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: Feb. 10
  • Must have purchased ticket by: Feb. 5
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond Feb. 10, 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. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.

Southwest

  • Airports covered (February 4-6): Chicago Midway (MDW) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP)
  • Airports covered (February 5-6): Des Moines (DSM); Detroit (DTW); Grand Rapids (GRR); Kansas City (MCI); Milwaukee (MKE); Omaha (OMA); Wichita (ICT)
  • Airports covered (February 6-7): Albany (ALB); Boston (BOS); Buffalo (BUF); Cleveland (CLE); Hartford (BDL); Manchester (MHT); Portland (PWM); Providence (PVD); Rochester (ROC)
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through the cities above on the corresponding dates 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.

United

Chicago

  • Travel date: February 5
  • Airports covered: Chicago-O’Hare, IL (ORD)​
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before ​​Feb. 8, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Midwest Winter Weather

  • Travel dates: February 5-6
  • Airports covered: Appleton, WI (ATW)​; Cedar Rapids, IA (CID)​; Chicago-O’Hare, IL (ORD)​; Columbia, MO (COU); Detroit, MI (DTW)​; Duluth, MN (DLH)​; Eau Claire, WI (EAU); Flint, MI (FNT)​; Grand Rapids, MI (GRR); Green Bay, WI (GRB); Hancock, MI (CMX)​; Kalamazoo, MI (AZO)​; Kansas City, MO (MCI)​; Lansing, MI (LAN)​; Madison, WI (MSN)​; Milwaukee, WI (MKE)​; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)​; Moline, IL (MLI)​; Mosinee, WI (CWA)​; Muskegon, MI (MKG)​; Peoria, IL (PIA)​; Quincy, IL (UIN)​; Saginaw, MI (MBS)​; South Bend, IN (SBN)​; Springfield, IL (SPI)​; Toronto, Ontario (YYZ)​; Traverse City, MI (TVC)​; Rochester, MN (RST)​
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before Feb. 10, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Jackson Hole

  • Travel dates: February 5-6
  • Airports covered: Jackson Hole, WY (JAC)​
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before Feb. 12, 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, Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit

Protect Your Travels

This winter storm is another reminder to book flights with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. Cards with solid trip protection include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Featured image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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