2,000+ Flights Cancelled Due To Winter Storms

As the projected severity of the winter storm in the Northeast increases, most domestic airlines in the US have either canceled flights, or issued waivers for travel over the next few days.

A bit of snow (much less a blizzard) can cause systemwide disruptions, so if you’re scheduled to travel this weekend you’ll want to take precautions.

Delays are starting to pile up, and many airlines have preemptively canceled flights for tomorrowAt the time of this writing there are over 2,000 canceled flights, and many delayed flights between today and tomorrow. A few examples:

  • JFK: 61 flights canceled on the 8th, 359 flights canceled on the 9th
  • Newark: 59 flights canceled on the 8th, 271 flights canceled on the 9th
  • LaGuardia: 46 flights canceled on the 8th, 281 flights canceled on the 9th

Snow-JFK-Airport

In general, the airlines are going to accommodate you if you’re able or willing to move your plans around — after all, they don’t benefit from having cranky passengers stuck in the terminal either. There are nuances to each policy though, so you can see the individual policies on the airline sites:

Ultimately though, if you’re flying to or through the Northeast today or tomorrow you want to stay on top of the situation, and get in touch with your airline ASAP.

Tips for rebooking

Regardless of the reason for flight cancelations, phone queues can get ugly fast. Given that many people need to rebook at the same time, you might be able to get new plans confirmed more quickly by using an alternate method.

Try the club lounge

If you’re already at the airport, start with the lounge agents. They tend to have fewer passengers to deal with than the gate agents, and thus may have more time (and more patience), when it comes to rebooking your flight.

Reach out on social media

I’ve had good luck changing flights by sending direct messages to American via Twitter. Several other airlines have a Twitter presence as well, and while they might not be able to fix your reservation, it’s worth trying:

Avoid the domestic call centers

If you’re willing to spend a few dollars on Skype or Google Voice credit, calling the international call center for an airline can often save you an hour or more of hold time.

Almost all of these call centers have an English-speaking option, but you can also call Australia, where I understand the weather is nice today, or even just Canadian numbers can get you through faster.

¿Hablas Español?

If you have a rudimentary understanding of Spanish (like, just enough to get through the computer system), you can try the Spanish-speaking numbers. Again, fewer people calling means shorter hold times, and the agents typically speak English as well.

  • American Airlines Spanish line: 1-800-633-3711
  • Southwest Spanish line: 1-800-VAMONOS
  • United Airlines Spanish line: 1-800-426-5561

Be your own advocate

This is maybe more a life philosophy than one specific to travel disruptions, but it holds true — no one cares about you (or your travel) as much as you do.

So be nice, but ask questions, present alternatives, be prepared to book your own hotel rather than waiting in line with a hundred other people for a voucher, and so forth.

If you stand around and wait, you will almost certainly have a worse time than those who are actively finding solutions to the situation.

Check your credit card coverage

If you purchased your tickets with a credit card, you may have some additional protection and benefits when your flight is delayed. Check with your credit card company, or see our list of popular travel cards with good delay coverage.

These cards will often cover your hotel, or the cost of a new flight, and so forth, so it’s good to know both the benefits and the requirements to file a claim.

Bottom line

I’m supposed to by flying to New York this evening, so I’ll be following my own advice.

As it gets closer I’ll be watching both my flight and the inbound flight to make sure things are on time. I’ve also contacted my airline and asked them to protect me on a flight tomorrow as a backup. Hopefully it doesn’t go much longer than that, as we have some fun plans in the city, but this isn’t really a situation I can control.

The best thing to do is pay attention, and be as proactive as you can.

Anyone else flying to the Northeast? What’s your plan?

Comments

  1. I missed my flight and the airlines rerouted me. Once I buy a ticket are they on the hook to deliver me to my destination or are they just being nice?

  2. I think the low cost careers are being nicer then the stupid legacy carrier
    Frontier you can rebook and must travel by Feb 28th
    Spirit you can travel by Feb 11th after that date a difference in fare

  3. This happened to us last year and we definitely learned that Twitter is the first place they announce any sort of travel waivers and advisories. Knowing that helped us jump into the phone queue seconds after they announced and we managed to make it out to Puerto Vallarta from JFK by going a day early. We accepted a downgrade to Comfort+ on the first leg of the trip just to ensure that we made it out of the snow and into the sun. Sometimes it’s more important to get there than it is to get there in style.

  4. Canceled ORD to HAV. Agent on the Premier UA desk rebooked me on AA with the flights I fed him. He didn’t want to, but they had no other flights to offer and I insisted. It pays to do the homework while you hold. Data point: hold time was 43 minutes. Twitter got back to me after 4hrs!

  5. Flying LAX-JFK on Saturday connecting to a cruise on Sunday… so far they are not offering changes as far out as the 11th so hopefully we will be ok. I’ll be ready with alternatives, and it is definitely no problem for me to fly into DCA/IAD/PHL/BWI/IAD or one of the ‘less impacted’ airports and ride Amtrak up… I doubt boyfriend will appreciate it but he’ll be even more upset if we miss the cruise!

    I figure this also has a potential impact on the waitlisted upgrade that looked very likely to clear; think they’ll hold back J inventory to protect space for re-bookings? There were 16 open in business on our flight last night and 13 this morning. 🙁

  6. I was at JFK and got cancelled. Calling domestic worked fine, just be quick on the dial as soon as it’s announced. Also, club lounge was annoyingly backed up with rebookings. Not ideal to have to wait in a very slow moving line just to check into the lounge (American Airlines).

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