Airlines Are Waiving Change Fees as US Braces for Intense Winter Weather

Here's what to know if wind and snow are impacting your holiday travel plans

Woman standing close to a window at an airport covered in snow
Rebooking is an option this year.
Getty Images

The crazy winter storm and sub-zero temperatures that were promised earlier this week have already started to accost people across the United States. The “strong arctic pressure system” is continuing its descent from Canada, bringing blizzard conditions to 17 states through Friday. Airlines are anticipating holiday travel disruptions by waiving change fees and matching fare differences. 

Here’s what the major U.S. airlines want you know:

If you booked a flight to or from one of 60 different airports across the Northeast and Midwest on or before December 19 for travel December 22 to 24, American Airlines will provide a flight change fee waiver. Flights need to be rebooked before December 23, and customers must be traveling within the same departing and arrival cities.

Travelers who are flying JetBlue on December 22 or 23 — who booked their flight before December 20 — through Northeast cities like New York and Baltimore have the perk of waived flight change fees. The rebooked date has to be on or before Christmas Day. If you booked your flight to or from the Midwest by December 19 for travel between December 21 and 23, you can get a new flight that departs from now until Christmas Day. If your flight was canceled, you can get a full refund. 

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As for Delta, the rebooking situation will depend on the region in which you’re flying. Midwest customers whose flights are being impacted from December 21 to 25 can book a new flight for no later than December 28, so long as they booked before December 20. If you’re traveling through the Northeast, flights will likely be impacted December 22 to 24. New flights must be rebooked by December 27, if the original flight was secured before December 20. As for the Pacific Northwest, flights scheduled between December 20 and 23 can be rebooked and must depart before December 27.

Spirit Airlines is waiving both change fees and fare differences. Midwest flights from December 21 to 23 and Northeast flights between December 22 and 24 need to be rebooked on or before December 28. Southwest is offering waiver codes for travel across the Midwest, West  and Northeast for flights booked between December 20 and 26. Rebooked flights must depart within 14 days of the original.

While United Airlines has permanently done away with change fees, they are issuing waivers for fare differences for holiday travel in many different places around the country. Customers traveling in the Midwest from December 21 to 25 can rebook until December 30. In other areas, customers can rebook their flights until December 28 if they booked the flight before December 18.


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