Snow snarls flights in Denver. Here’s what you need to know.

Nov 26, 2019

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The busy Thanksgiving travel week got off to a rough start on Tuesday as a snowstorm snarled flights at Denver.

Nearly 500 flights – about 255 departures and 220 arrivals – had been canceled there as of 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Denver is hub for United Airlines and Frontier and major base for Southwest.

The airport was sending regular updates on Twitter throughout Tuesday morning. It said its crews were working to keep the runways and taxiways clear, and expected many airlines to resume service by the afternoon.

Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled?

Still, the poor weather in Denver has already created major headaches for more than 1,100 passengers who spent Monday night in the airport as the storm moved into the area.

More than a foot of snow was possible for parts of the region, though forecasts called for improving conditions later in the day.

“Three of six runways are currently open. We anticipate the storm to subside this afternoon. Passengers are still encouraged to check their flight status with their airline before heading to the airport,” Alex Renteria, public information officer for Denver International Airport said in an email to TPG.

Travelers should be wary of weather-related disruptions at other airports in Colorado, with heavy snow in the forecast for large parts of the state.

Beyond Colorado, weather-related problems were minimal on Tuesday. But travelers should remain alert. Significant snowfall was forecast Tuesday into Wednesday for parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Few major airports sit in that region, but Minneapolis/St. Paul — a hub for Delta — is among those that could see several inches of snow.

Related: Trip Delay Reimbursement and the Credit Cards That Offer It

What options are there for travelers affected by poor weather? There are several tips that can help. Among those:

  • See if your airline has a waiver that allows you to change your flight to avoid the weather. In the case of Tuesday’s weather, most big airlines rolled out waivers for Denver. Those airlines included American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United. Some airlines also had added waivers for Minneapolis and the upper Midwest, where poor weather could be an issue Tuesday and Wednesday. Exact rules vary by airline, but the waivers generally allow customers to affected airports to make one chance to their itineraries without paying the standard change fees that can cost $200 or more.
  • Need to get in touch with your airline to figure out travel alternatives? During major disruptions, your hold time on the regular customer service line can be especially long, so consider reaching out over social media. Or open your airline’s app or website on your device to see if you can book alternate planes there. 
  • You can also take advantage of travel protections if you booked your trip with certain credit cards. Or, if you signed up for a paid service like Freebird, you may be rerouted automatically.

Check out our guide for more tips on what to do in the event your travels don’t quite go as planned.

Featured photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images.

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