US airlines have issued travel waivers ahead of what’s forecast to be a brutal “bomb cyclone” of wintry weather in the Midwest and other regions later this week.
The important aviation hub of Chicago is forecast to be one of the cities hit the hardest, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for a blizzard.
Many airlines are allowing limited, no-charge itinerary changes related to the expected storms.
“One of the things you can do as a traveler is make that switch as soon as possible,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. Keyes noted that flights are more full than they were pre-pandemic in 2019, so there are not as many seats to switch to if your flight is disrupted.
Here’s what airlines are doing to account for the winter weather:
• By Tuesday morning, United Airlines, headquartered in Chicago, was offering four separate winter weather waivers: One in the Midwest, one for Texas, one for the East Coast and another for Central and Northwest United States.
Change fees and fare differences on United will be waived for modified bookings within the originally ticketed cabin and between the same cities within short rebooking windows this month. Find more details on each regional waiver on United’s website.
•,Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, issued three travel advisories Tuesday: Midwest and Central Plains, Atlantic and Northeast region and Northwest Mountain region. Click here for Delta’s travel advisory page.
• American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, has also issued a waiver for travel in, out or through almost 30 airports in the Midwest as well as another waiver for about 30 destinations in the Northeast. More details on American’s website.
• Southwest Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, has issued a handful of waivers related to winter weather over the holiday period. Click here for the latest on Southwest’s waivers.
• JetBlue, the discount carrier based in Queens, New York, issued a “Midwest Winter Weather Fee Waiver” Monday for four airports Chicago (ORD); Kansas City (MCI); Milwaukee (MKE); and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP). The airline added a winter weather waiver for the Northeast on Tuesday. Click here for more on JetBlue’s waivers.
• As of Tuesday afternoon, Alaska Airlines, headquartered in the Seattle metro area, had issued a winter weather waiver only for flights to and from Seattle because of heavy snow. Tickets needed to have been purchased on or before December 18 for travel on December 20. Click here for more on Alaska Airlines’ waiver.
• Spirit Airlines, the discount carrier headquartered in Miramar, Florida, has issued winter weather waivers for a number of Midwest and Northeast airports. Details on Spirit’s website.
Top image: Travelers arrive for flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on December 16. Chicago could be hit hard by a winter “bomb cyclone” this coming week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)