Last updated: 01:44 PM ET, Thu January 21 2016

Airlines Waive Change Fees Ahead Of Major East Coast Storm

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | January 21, 2016

Airlines Waive Change Fees Ahead Of Major East Coast Storm

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

As a massive snowstorm heads towards the East Coast, airlines are taking unprecedented steps to make sure that as few people as possible are stranded. Heavy snow is expected all along the East Coast, with blizzard conditions predicted from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore up to New York City and Boston. Forecasters are guessing that two feet of snow could fall in the nation’s capital, and New York City could see more than a foot. Boston will also be affected. 

To allow people to get out before the storm hits or to wait it out until later, airlines have been waiving the fees that they usually charge for changing tickets. Those who want to change their travel plans so that they can avoid the potentially historic storm are being offered refunds or waivers that can be used to purchase tickets at a later date. All major carriers — including American, United, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue — have decided to offer ticket holders the ability to change their plans without incurring fees. 

READ MORE: Travel Delays Possible as Winter Storm Jonas Approaches Northeast

American Airlines will waive change fees for all flights into and out of affected airports. United has adopted the same policy, plus it will pay any differences in fares for people who rebook the same service on a different date. Delta will waive change fees and refund passengers who still try to fly and end up having their flights canceled. JetBlue and Southwest are also allowing fee-free ticket changes.

The storm is expected to hit soon, but the situation is fluid. Fliers who are still going to attempt to get out of East Coast airports should reference their airline’s web site or Twitter feed for the latest information. (If the storm is not as violent as forecasted, it wouldn’t be the first “false alarm” in history). 

READ MORE: Tales Of A Floridian Stuck In New York City Snow

Most airlines have rebooking policies or “reaccomodation procedures” that fliers have to follow in order to rebook or change their plans because of a major weather event. Southwest’s, for example, can be seen here. The difference this time is that airlines are trying to allow people the chance to act preemptively, rather than getting stranded in the airport and getting a refund or waiver after the fact.  

if it hits with the expected intensity, the storm could affect travel through the weekend, and it could then take additional days for airlines to get their schedules back on track. 


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