US Airlines Begin Cutting Flights As Winter Storm Approaches

A significant winter storm is moving through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States, dumping massive amounts of snow and rain. Up north, experts predict Winter Storm Gail to be the biggest snowstorm in years. The storm is causing widespread chaos, including at airports and airlines.

Winter Storm Gail is causing chaos at airports and airlines up and down the United States’ east coast. Photo: Getty Images

According to FlightAware data, 48% of flights at Boston’s Logan International Airport are canceled on Thursday. Across key New York airports, 42% of flights are canceled at La Guardia, and 27% of flights are canceled at both Kennedy and Newark Airports. The situation appears to be easing further south. Just 10% of flights are canceled at Baltimore, 10% at Washington’s Reagan National Aiport, 5% at Dulles, and 4% of flights are canceled at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday.

Southwest and Delta issue alerts and waives fees

Southwest Airlines advises it expects delays, disruptions, and cancelations at the following airports: Albany, Boston,  Baltimore/Washington,  Hartford,  Long Island/Islip,  Manchester,  New York LaGuardia,  Philadelphia,  Pittsburgh,  Portland,  Providence,  Washington Dulles, and, Washington National.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines says passengers arriving or departing from these airports on Southwest flights on either Wednesday or Thursday can rebook in the same fare class to travel in the next 14 days without additional charge.

Delta Air Lines is warning passengers arriving and departing from Albany, Allentown, Baltimore, Boston, Burlington, Charlottesville, Harrisburg, Hartford, New York La Guardia, New York Kennedy, Newark, Philadelphia, Portland, Roanoke, Rochester, State College, Syracuse, Washington Dulles, and Washington National, of possible delays, disruptions, and cancelations.

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Delta is allowing passengers to rebook their travel. When rebooked travel occurs on or before December 20, 2020, in the same cabin of service as originally booked, Delta says the fare difference will be waived. When rebooked travel occurs after December 20, 2020, a difference in fare may apply. Delta also advises if travel cannot be rescheduled within these guidelines, passengers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issue date.

Nearly half of Thursday’s flights at Boston’s Logan Airport are canceled due to Winter Storm Gail. Photo: Getty Images

American Airlines issues fee waiver covering 37 airports

American Airlines says it is keeping a close eye on Winter Storm Gail. The airline has issued a travel alert for 37 airports across 13 states and Washington, DC. The airline is allowing customers whose travel plans are impacted by Winter Storm Gail to rebook without a change fee. This waiver applies if a passenger purchased their ticket by December 14, 2020, for travel on either December 16 or 17, and can travel between December 14 – December 20.

The relevant American Airlines airports include Akron/Canton, Albany, Allentown, Baltimore, Bangor, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington, Charleston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Erie, Harrisburg, Hartford, Huntington, Islip, Ithaca, Manchester, New York Kennedy, New York LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Roanoke, Rochester, State College, Stewart Newburgh, Syracuse, Washington Dulles, Washington National, Watertown, White Plains, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

American Airlines warns of disruptions, delays, and cancelations at 37 airports due to Winter Storm Gail. Photo: American Airlines

JetBlue and United have similar policies for Winter Storm Gail

JetBlue will waive change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling on December 16 and 17, 2020, to and from the following cities: Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Newark, New York, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Washington, and Westchester County. Passengers may rebook their flights for travel through to Saturday, December 19, 2020.

United Airlines reportedly has a similar policy covering passengers slated to arrive and depart on Wednesday and Thursday from 21 airports (including Albany, Allentown, Baltimore, Boston and, New York). At the time of publication,  there isn’t much information on United’s website. However, the airline does have a handy catch-all get out of jail free card when it comes to situations like Winter Storm Gail.

United Airlines has permanently got rid of change fees on all United States domestic tickets. That currently includes basic economy tickets.

Winter Storm Gail is described as complex, fast-moving, and messy. Travelers moving through impacted areas today are advised to contact their airline for the latest information.