Severe Weather Threatens to Hamper Post-Christmas Travel, Airline Waivers Issued

Dec 26, 2018

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So far, the weather has mostly played nicely with travel plans this holiday season. However, weather conditions are expected to impact travel in parts of the US over the next few days. Winter storm warnings have already been issued for five states, and multiple airlines have issued travel waivers letting flexible travelers change their flights with no fees.

Through the end of the week, a wide swath of the Northern Plains is expected to get at least eight inches of snow.

The National Weather Service notes that this area can “expect hazardous travel conditions Wednesday into early Friday, with heavy snow and strong wings making roads dangerous.”

Weather Underground’s travel prediction forecasts issues at the following airports:

  • Wednesday: Dallas (thunderstorms), Denver (snow), Houston (thunderstorms), Kansas City (rain), Minneapolis (snow or rain/snow mix, especially late), Seattle (rain)
  • Thursday: Minneapolis/St. Paul (snow or a rain-and-snow mixture), Chicago (rain), Atlanta (rain), New Orleans (thunderstorms), St. Louis (rain), Boston (rain/snow mix, late), New York (rain, late)
  • Friday: Minneapolis/St. Paul (snow and wind), Atlanta (rain, thunderstorms), New York (rain and wind), Boston (rain)

According to FlightAware’s flight cancellation tracker, 33 flights have already been canceled for Wednesday, with 14 of these flights in/out of Dallas/Fort Worth.

As of 3:30pm ET, the following airlines have issued weather waivers:

American

  • Travel dates: December 26-27
  • Covered airports: Bismarck, North Dakota (BIS); Fargo, North Dakota (FAR); La Crosse, Wisconsin (LSE); Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota (MSP); Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP); Rochester, Minnesota (RST); Sioux Falls, South Dakota (FSD)
  • Must have purchased ticket by: December 25
  • Rebooked travel must occur between December 25-30
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference. No free changes in origin or destination.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.

Delta

  • Travel dates: December 26-28
  • Covered airports: Aberdeen, SD (ABR); Bismarck, ND (BIS); Bemidji, MN (BJI); Brainerd, MN (BRD); Duluth, MN (DLH); Fargo, ND (FAR); Grand Forks, ND (GFK); Hibbing, MN (HIB); International Falls, MN (INL); Minot, ND (MOT); Rapid City, SD (RAP)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: December 24
  • Tickets must be reissued by: December 30
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: December 30
  • Changes to origins and destinations may result in an increase in fare. Any difference in fare between your original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking.
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond December 30, 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.

No waivers (yet) from: Alaska, Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United.

Protect Your Travels

As we move deeper into winter, these storms are 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 from the last-minute four-day extension to our visit.

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. For now, I’m using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book all of my flights to get 3x earnings on the airfare purchase plus solid trip protection benefits that kick in when a weather delay or cancellation stretches past six hours. Other top choices for getting solid mileage earning and trip protection when booking flights are the Chase Sapphire Preferred CardCiti / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Citi Premier Card.

Featured image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

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