It's cold, people.
We'd like to send our warmest thoughts to those currently holed up in Chicago (-16 °F), Madison (-17 °F) and Minneapolis (-22 °F). Those temps somehow don't even include the Hoth-level wind chill.
It's legitimately too dangerous to spend much time outside right now, unless you're angling to lose a couple fingers. Amtrak has suspended service in the Midwest, Chicago's schools are closed for the next couple days and Minneapolis closed its restaurants, offices ... even a freaking ice castle.
It's not exactly business as usual at airports, either. Nearly 3,300 flights have been canceled today, and over 11,000 have been delayed. Why? Because you'd need the goddamned Abominable Snowman to properly prep a plane in this kind of weather. De-icing fuel tanks takes time, which creates longer lines at TSA checkpoints (gosh, they've had a great 2019 so far) and fosters general mayhem.
Good news, though — if you were planning on flying today, you can claim a waiver for your cancelled flight. The rules are a little different for each airline, so follow them closely.
- American Airlines: If you were supposed to fly yesterday or today (January 29-30), you can rebook a new flight on or before February 2. Change fees/difference in fares are waived. If specifically flying to/from Chicago between January 27-31, book a night flight before on or before February 3 for free.
- Delta Airlines: Unfortunately Delta's Chicago/Midwest waivers have already expired. But if you were supposed to fly January 29 or January 30 to Atlanta or the Northeast, you can rebook your flight on or before February 2. Or pick somewhere warm and they'll wave the change fees. (You'll have to pay the difference in fare, though.)
- Southwest Airlines: The difference in fares is waived for 26 airports, listed here, and the overall policy is more flexible than those of other airlines. If a flight got cancelled from Tuesday to Friday this week, you'll have 14 days to rebook.
- United Airlines: Two waivers to speak of here ... one for the Northeast, one for Chicago. The Northeast option is pretty strict, you can only rebook cancelled January 29 flights, in order to fly on or before February 1. The Chicago waiver covers flights from January 27-February 1, and will let you rebook on or before February 4 for free.
If it's business, go handle it and leave this cursedly cold week to the past. If it's vacation, for the love of your currently intact nose and toes head for the equator instead.