Key US airlines have issued travel waivers ahead of what’s forecast to be a brutal “bomb cyclone” of wintry weather in the Midwest and other regions later this week.
The important aviation hub of Chicago is forecast to be one of the cities hit the hardest, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for a blizzard.
By Monday evening, United Airlines, headquartered in Chicago, was already offering three separate winter weather waivers: One in the Midwest, one for Texas and another for the East Coast.
Change fees and fare differences will be waived for modified bookings within the originally ticketed cabin and between the same cities within short rebooking windows this month.
United Midwest waivers: This is for passengers who purchased a ticket with United by this past Saturday, December 17, for travel between December 21 and December 25.
Almost 30 airports come under the Midwest waiver, including Chicago O’Hare, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis. Find more details on each regional waiver on United’s website.
United Texas waivers: This is for people who purchased a ticket by December 18.
The waiver is for travel that was booked from December 22 to December 25. More than a dozen airports come under the waiver, including Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso and Houston.
United East Coast waivers: This is for passengers who purchased a ticket with United by this past Sunday, December 18, for travel between December 22 and December 25.
About 50 airports come under this waiver, including Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Nashville, all the major New York City airports, Philadelphia, Toronto (Canada) and Washington, DC.
Here’s what the other large US airlines had issued by Monday night (all information current as of 8 p.m. ET Monday):
• American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, has also issued a waiver for travel in, out or through almost 30 airports in the Midwest. More details on American’s website.
• Southwest Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, issued a “Rocky Mountain and Midwest Winter Weather” waiver.
The waiver covers a dozen cities, including Chicago O’Hare, Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The impacted travel dates are December 21-23. Click here for more on Southwest’s waiver.
• JetBlue, the discount carrier based in Queens, New York, issued a “Midwest Winter Weather Fee Waiver” for people changing flights in or out of four airports – Chicago (ORD); Kansas City (MCI); Milwaukee (MKE); and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP). Click here for more on JetBlue’s waiver.
• As of Monday evening, Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, issued a travel advisory and waiver information for two airports in the Northwest: Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA). Tickets must have been purchased on or before December 18 for travel on December 20-22. Click here for Delta’s travel advisory page.
• As of Monday evening, Alaska Airlines, headquartered in the Seattle metro area, had issued a winter weather waiver only for flights to and from Seattle because of heavy snow. Tickets needed to have been purchased on or before December 18 for travel on December 20. Click here for more on Alaska Airlines.
• Spirit Airlines, the discount carrier headquartered in Miramar, Florida, had not issued any weather-related travel advisories as of 8 p.m. Monday.