Northeast Braces for Another Bomb Cyclone, Airlines Issue Travel Waivers

Mar 1, 2018

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Citi Prestige Card

Remember the bomb cyclone from early January that cancelled thousands of flights, caused aborted landings, coastal flooding and led to the operational collapse of New York City’s JFK airport? Well, a low pressure system churning in the Atlantic is forecast to undergo bombogenesis tonight. This storm threatens to bring high winds, coastal flooding and up to 24 inches of snow to parts of the Northeast on Friday and Saturday.

Image courtesy of Weather Underground.
Image courtesy of Weather Underground.

So far, we aren’t seeing preventative flight cancellations for Friday and Saturday, but cancellations are sure to come as the storm’s strong winds wreak havoc on air travel. As we saw with the bomb cyclone earlier this year, the strong winds are likely to cause air traffic control to limit the number of flights that can operate.

While this new bomb cyclone bears down on the Northeast, another storm is sweeping across California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Winter storm warnings have been issued across five western states, with some blizzard warnings issued for eastern California.

Image courtesy of Weather Underground.

Thankfully, if you’re scheduled to fly through the Northeast or parts of the West Coast, airlines are opening up options for flexible travelers. Seven US airlines have issued travel waivers, allowing travelers to rebook their flights to avoid the mess.

If you can’t delay your itinerary, airlines aren’t going to be responsible for paying for your meals or hotels in the case of weather-related delays/cancellations. But some top cards have flight delay/cancellation insurance that can reimburse you for weather issues, including the Citi Prestige ($500 per passenger for 3+ hour delay), the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay) and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay).

As of 9:10 Thursday morning, here are the travel waivers covering this storm:

Alaska Airlines

  • Travel dates: March 1-3
  • Airports affected: Reno (RNO) and Mammoth Lakes (MMH)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by February 27
  • Rebooked travel must be completed by March 10
  • You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded on or before March 3. Rebook your flight or apply for a refund online.

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: March 2-3
  • Airports affected: Boston, Massachusetts (BOS); Hartford, Connecticut (BDL); Islip, New York (ISP); New Haven, Connecticut (HVN); New York Kennedy, New York (JFK); New York LaGuardia, New York (LGA); Newark, New Jersey (EWR); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL); Providence, Rhode Island (PVD); Stewart Newburgh, New York (SWF); White Plains / Westchester County, New York (HPN)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by February 27
  • Rebook travel anytime between March 1-6
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

Delta

  • Travel dates: March 2-3
  • Airports covered: Boston, MA (BOS); Hartford, CT (BDL); New York – Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York – LaGuardia, NY (LGA); Newark, NJ (EWR); Newburgh, NY (SWF); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Providence, RI (PVD); White Plains, NY (HPN)
  • Ticket must be reissued by March 6
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than March 6
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond March 6, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply.
  • Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue. If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.

JetBlue

  • Travel dates: March 2-3
  • Airports covered: Albany, NY (ALB); Boston, MA (BOS); Buffalo, NY (BUF); Hartford, CT (BDL); Newark, NJ (EWR); New York, NY (JFK, LGA); Newburgh, NY (SWF); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Providence, RI (PVD); Rochester, NY (ROC); Syracuse, NY (SYR); White Plains, NY (HPN); Worcester, MA (ORH)
  • Must have bought your ticket by February 28
  • Rebook travel anytime through March 6
  • To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. If you are already checked in for your flight, call JetBlue at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) for assistance with rebooking or a credit.

Southwest

  • Travel dates: March 2-3
  • Airports covered: Albany (ALB); Boston (BOS); Buffalo (BUF); Hartford (BDL); Long Island MacArthur (ISP); Manchester (MHT); New York LaGuardia (LGA); Newark (EWR); Philadelphia (PHL); Portland (PWM); Providence (PVD); Rochester (ROC)
  • Customers who are holding reservations on these dates, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with Southwest’s accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

United

Chicago

  • Travel date: March 1
  • Airports covered: Chicago-O’Hare, IL (ORD)​
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before March 4, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Northeast

  • Travel dates: March 2-3
  • Airports covered: Allentown, PA (ABE); Boston, MA (BOS); Hartford, CT (BDL); Manchester, NH (MHT); New York/Newark, NJ (EWR); New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York-LaGuardia, NY (LGA); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Providence, RI (PVD); White Plains, NY (HPN)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before March 7, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Virgin America

  • Travel dates: March 1-3
  • Airport covered: Reno, Nevada (RNO)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: March 3
  • [Virgin] will waive the change fees and the difference in the price of the ticket if the new travel is booked to or from the affected cities in the same cabin and completed on or before March 10, 2018.  Additional taxes and fees may apply. You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded on or before March 10, 2018.
  • To modify an existing reservation during this period, you may contact [Virgin America’s] Call Center at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN* (877.359.8474) for assistance. Or manage your reservation online: Change your flight. Cancel or refund your flight.

No waivers (yet) from: Frontier, Hawaiian, Spirit.

Featured image by Rebecca Butala How/Getty Images

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