More Than 1,000 Flights Cancelled Due to Thanksgiving Weekend Blizzard

Nov 25, 2018

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Mother Nature isn’t playing nicely on one of the busiest travel days of the year. A winter storm — dubbed “Bruce” by The Weather Channel — is wreaking havoc on travel across the Midwest on Sunday. Flight cancellations for the Thanksgiving weekend have now topped 1,000, with at least 990 flights cancelled on Sunday alone.

And many more cancellations are likely to follow as the storm is forecast to sweep across the Great Lakes region and upper Northeast on Monday and Tuesday — with more than 18 inches of snow forecast in parts of the country:

Image from Weather Underground.

Currently, Blizzard Warnings stretch across six states:

Image from Weather Underground.

According to FlightAware’s flight cancellation tracker, airlines operated almost all US flights on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, there were only 53 cancellations in the US — including 11 flights to/from San Francisco (SFO) and 7 to/from Atlanta (ATL). Saturday saw 104 flight cancellations, with Chicago O’Hare leading the way with 14 cancellations.

However, cancellations spiked on Sunday with at least 990 flights already cancelled through 5:00pm. The hardest hit airports so far are:

  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD): 573 cancellations and 279 delays
  • Kansas City (MCI): 176 cancellations and 34 delays
  • Chicago Midway (MDW): 123 cancellations and 61 delays
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): 46 cancellations and 170 delays
  • Denver (DEN): 32 cancellations and 131 delays
  • Philadelphia (PHL): 31 cancellations and 95 delays

As of 4:30pm ET Sunday, eight airlines have issued waivers for this storm:

In This Post

Allegiant Air

  • Based on forecasted weather conditions in the Midwest, our scheduled services may be delayed, diverted, and / or cancelled.
  • Travel dates: November 25 – 26
  • Airports covered:  Appleton, Wisconsin (ATW); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID); Des Moines, Iowa (DSM); Flint, Michigan (FNT); Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR); Kansas City, Missouri (MCI); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE); Moline, Illinois (MLI); Peoria, Illinois (PIA); South Bend, Indiana (SBN)

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: November 24 – 26
  • Airports covered: Waterloo, Iowa (ALO); Appleton, Wisconsin (ATW); Kalamazoo, Michigan (AZO); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID); Columbia, Missouri (COU); Dubuque, Iowa (DBQ); Des Moines, Iowa (DSM); Detroit, Michigan (DTW); Flint, Michigan (FNT); Green Bay, Wisconsin (GRB); Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR); Lansing, Michigan (LAN); Kansas City, Missouri (MCI); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE); Moline, Illinois (MLI); Madison, Wisconsin (MSN); Chicago, Illinois (ORD); Peoria, Illionis (PIA); South Bend, Indiana (SBN); Traverse City, Michigan (TVC)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by November 23
  • Rebooked travel must occur between November 23 – 30
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference. No changes in origin or destination are allowed.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.

Delta

  • Travel dates: November 25 – 26
  • Airports covered: Bloomington, IL (BMI); Cedar Rapids, IA (CID); Chicago—O’Hare (ORD); Chicago – Midway (MDW); Des Moines, IA (DSM); Flint, MI (FNT); Fort Wayne, IN (FWA); Grand Rapids, MI (GRR); Kalamazoo, MI (AZO); Kansas City, MO (MCI); Lansing, MI (LAN); Lincoln, NE (LNK); Madison, WI (MSN); Milwaukee, WI (MKE); Moline, IL (MLI); Omaha, NE (OMA); Peoria, IL (PIA); Rapid City, SD (RAP); Saginaw, MI (MBS); South Bend, IN (SBN)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by November 24
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: November 29
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: November 29
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond November 29, 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.

Frontier

  • Travel dates: November 24 – 26
  • Airports covered: Bloomington, IL; Cedar Rapids, IA; Chicago O’Hare, IL; Des Moines, IA; Detroit, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Kansas City, MO; Madison, WI; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Wichita, KS
  • Must have purchased your ticket by November 23
  • Rebooked travel must be completed no later than December 10

JetBlue

  • Travel date: November 25
  • Airports covered: Chicago, IL (ORD)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by November 23
  • Rebook travel anytime through November 28
  • 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.

Spirit

  • Travel date: November 25 – 26
  • Airports covered: Chicago, IL (ORD) and Kansas City, MO (MCI)
  • Modification Charge/Fare Difference waived through: November 29
  • Guests can make changes to their reservations affected by this event by going to [Spirit’s] Manage Travel page, or by calling the Spirit Reservations Center at 801-401-2222 to make their flight changes. To make changes to Spirit Vacation packages contact Spirit Vacations at 954-379-8866.

Southwest

  • Travel dates: November 24-26
  • Airports covered: Chicago (MDW); Des Moines (DSM); Grand Rapids (GRR); Kansas City (MCI); Milwaukee (MKE); Omaha (OMA); Wichita (ICT)
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through the cities listed above on the corresponding dates 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.
  • Customers who purchased their itinerary via Southwest.com or [Southwest’s] mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device. Customers who did not purchase a ticket via Southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.

United

  • Travel dates: November 24 – 26
  • Covered airports: Appleton, WI (ATW); Cedar Rapids, IA (CID); Columbia, MO (COU); Chicago-O’Hare, IL (ORD); Des Moines, IA (DSM); Detroit, MI (DTW); Flint, MI (FNT); Grand Rapids, MI (GRR); Green Bay, WI (GRB); Hays, KS (HYS); Houghton, MI (CMX); Kalamazoo, MI (AZO); Kearney, NE (EAR); Kansas City, MO (MCI); Lansing, MI (LAN); Lincoln, NE (LNK); Madison, WI (MSN); Milwaukee, WI (MKE); Moline, IL (MLI); Muskegon, MI (MKG); Omaha, NE (OMA); Peoria, IL (PIA); Quincy, IL (UIN); Saginaw, MI (MBS); Salina, KS (SLN); Scottsbluff, NE (BFF); South Bend. IN (SBN); Traverse City, MI (TVC); Wichita, KS (ICT)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before November 30, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

No waivers yet from: Alaska, Hawaiian, Sun Country

Protect Your Travels

This winter storm is another reminder to book flights with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. When I got stuck in Japan for four extra days due to a typhoon, I was very grateful for the Citi Prestige’s trip delay protection, which reimbursed $1,000 of our expenses.

Although Citi Prestige used to be my go-to for booking flights, a recent devaluation to the card’s travel benefits knocked it out of its top spot. Currently, I’m using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book my flights going forward. Other top choices are the Chase Sapphire Preferred CardCiti / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Citi Premier Card.

Featured image by Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

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