A strong cold front is expected to move across the country in the next few days, and airlines are already feeling the effects. As of Wednesday morning, the system had just started to move. More severe weather and cold temperatures were expected later on Thursday and Friday in the east. FlightAware says that as of 6:15 p.m. ET, 452 flights in the U.S. had to be canceled.
It will be harder for travelers. Thursday, more than 840 flights in the U.S. were canceled, which is likely to go up. The storm system is expected to keep moving east through the end of the week. Many airlines in the Midwest, Northeast and even parts of the South have already canceled flights because of the storm. You need to know what airlines offer and what you’re entitled to if your flight gets canceled.
What Am I Owed If My Flight Is Canceled Or Delayed?
If your flight is canceled, the Department of Transportation requires all airlines to refund your ticket, even if you bought a nonrefundable fare. The rules for delays are a little more complicated, and each airline has its own rules. The DOT has a dashboard that shows travelers what they are entitled to from each carrier.
Most of the time, airlines don’t pay for delays caused by the weather because it’s not something they can control.
Weather Exemptions For Airlines
Even though airlines may not offer compensation for a significant number of weather-related delays, they try to provide passengers with more options in advance of potentially severe weather. Several airlines are currently providing customers in many parts of the country with the possibility of rescheduling their trips after the storm has passed. An overview is as follows:
- American Airlines: passengers booked on existing tickets to travel to, from, or through parts of the Midwest between Dec. 21 and 23 or parts of the Northeast between Dec. 22 and 24 can push their plans to as late as Dec. 30 without paying change fees or fare differences.
- Delta Air Lines: The airline has issued multiple waivers covering travel through Dec. 25 in certain regions. Depending on which airports are included in the original itinerary, travelers may be able to change their ticket to fly as late as Dec. 28 without paying fare differences. Delta does not charge change fees except on primary economy tickets.
- United Airlines: Travelers in most of the country through Dec. 25 can move their plans to Dec. 28 or 30, depending on the region, without paying a change fee or fare difference. Exact waiver applicability dates and locations vary by region.
- Southwest Airlines: Most travelers can change their tickets for travel through Dec. 26 in the Rockies, Midwest, and Northeast without needing to pay a fare difference. The airline does not charge change fees.
- Spirit Airlines: Passengers traveling to, from, or through many airports in the Midwest through Dec. 23 and Northeast through Dec. 24. Passengers covered can move their flights to Dec. 28 or sooner without paying a fare difference or change fee.
- Frontier Airlines: Travelers scheduled to fly through Dec. 24 to, from, or through certain airports in the Northeast, Midwest, and South can change their travel dates without paying a change fee.
- JetBlue: Many passengers traveling in the Midwest or Northeast through Dec. 23 can move their trip to Dec. 25 or sooner without paying a change fee or fare difference.