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Airlines have started rebooking flights across the U.S. as winter weather intensifies

An airline passenger walks to her ride share vehicle after arriving at Chicago's Midway Airport just days before a major winter storm Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, in Chicago.
Charles Rex Arbogast
An airline passenger walks to her ride share vehicle after arriving at Chicago's Midway Airport just days before a major winter storm Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, in Chicago.

Winter weather across the countryis expected to impact holiday travel, and several airlines have already begun offering customers more flexibility on their flights.

A bulletin from the National Weather Service (NWS) says a "strong arctic high pressure system," was sweeping down from Canada on Tuesday and appears poised to march toward the Great Plains, the Midwest and into the Southeast on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, bringing life-threatening blizzard conditions and cold weather systems across 17 states.

This is what airlines are doing to anticipate the conditions.

American Airlines

American Airlines is providing flight change fee waivers for trips to and from nearly 60 airports in across the Northeast and Midwest for those who booked on or before Dec. 19 and are traveling between Dec. 22. and Dec. 24.

Additionally, customers must rebook with the same departing and arrival cities, and in the same cabin, unless they are willing to pay the difference.

Eligible flights must be rebooked before Dec. 23.


For customers flying through the Northeast, including cities such as New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Ohio, JetBlue is waiving flight change fees for those who booked before Dec. 20 and are traveling on Dec. 22 or Dec. 23.

Rebooked flights must be made before the departure time of the customer's original flight and can be changed to a date no later than Christmas Day.

Customers who booked their original flights by Dec. 19, and are traveling to and from the Midwest between Dec. 21 and Dec. 23, can get a new flight that departs between Dec. 20 and Christmas Day.

Travelers whose flights were canceled are eligible for a full refund.

Delta Airlines

At Delta Airlines, fare difference waivers are being allotted to customers traveling and from the Midwest, Northeast and Pacific Northwest.

For Midwest customers, flights from Dec. 21 to Christmas Day are being impacted. New flights can depart no later than Dec. 28, but only for those who booked before Dec. 20.

For customers with Northeastern cities on their itineraries, the weather is expected to impact flights between Dec. 22 to Dec. 24. New flights must be rebooked and depart by Dec. 27 if the original flight was booked before Dec. 20.

Finally, for those traveling to and from the Pacific Northwest, scheduled flights between Dec. 20 and Dec. 23 in Vancouver, Canada, Seattle and Portland must be rebooked and depart by Dec. 26 if the original flight was booked before Dec. 18.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is waving fees flight changes and fare differences.

For flights departing or arriving in the Northeast from Dec. 22 to Dec. 24, and in the Midwest from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23, new flights must be booked by Dec. 28.

After the 28th, the charge to change a flight will still be waived, but a fare difference may apply.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is offering waiver codes for travel across the Northeast, Midwest, and West for flights originally scheduled between Dec. 20 to Dec. 26, depending on the city on your itinerary.

Customers can rebook a new flight that departs within 14 days of their old one.

United Airlines

United Airlines has permanently erased fees to change flights, but it has issued waivers for fare differences for holiday travel across much of the country.

In the Midwest, flights booked before Dec. 17 that depart between Dec. 21 to Christmas Day, customers can rebook until Dec. 30.

Customers traveling to and from the Central and Northwest U.S., the East Coast and Texas in the next few days can rebook until Dec. 28 if their original flights were booked before Dec. 18.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is advising customers to get to the airports in cities, such as San Francisco and New York early due to longer lines.

It is waiving fare differences for flights back and forth between Seattle for flights booked for Dec. 20. New flights can be rebooked until Dec. 27.

Those who booked non refundable flights may receive a flight credit.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]