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Airlines Issue Weather Waivers for 74 Airports Ahead of Massive Blizzard

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 1/17/2019 JT Genter
a airplane that is covered in snow © Provided by Bankrate, LLC

We are entering peak winter storm season, and — right on schedule — the worst winter storm of the season is making its way across the US. Airlines have already started issuing wide-ranging change fee waivers to allow flexible travelers the opportunity to reschedule their flights to avoid the mess.

While the winter storm is expected to dump snow in the Rockies Thursday, it’ll pick up strength as it sweeps eastward. By the time it hits Maine, more than three feet of snow is expected in parts of the state.

a close up of a map: Image courtesy of Weather Underground . © Provided by Bankrate, LLC Image courtesy of Weather Underground .

However, it’s not just the snow forecast that’s expected to impact travel. Harper will bring very strong winds to the region — dropping the wind chill and wreaking havoc on air travel.

Airlines are preparing for this storm by issuing weather waivers. Travelers with plans to fly during the storm may be able to change their flights to an earlier/later date or route through another airport that isn’t expected to be affected by the storm.

Through 9:30am ET Thursday, only four airlines have issued weather waivers so far. However, these fee waivers cover a whopping 74 airports.

a close up of a map © Provided by Bankrate, LLC

Here’s what’s been issued so far:

In This Post

American Airlines

  • Travel date: January 19-20
  • Airports affected: Albany, New York (ALB); Bangor, Maine (BGR); Boston, Massachusetts (BOS); Buffalo, New York (BUF); Burlington, Vermont (BVT); Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI); Ithaca, New York (ITH); Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT); Montreal, Canada (YUL); Ottawa, Canada (YOW); Portland, Maine (PWM); Rochester, New York (ROC); Syracuse, New York (SYR); Toronto, Canada (YYZ); Watertown, New York (ART); Worcester, Massachusetts (ORH)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by January 16
  • Rebook travel anytime between January 16-23
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.


Waiver 1:

  • Travel dates: January 17-20
  • Airports covered: Albany, NY (ALB); Buffalo, NY (BUF); Harrisburg, PA (MDT); Islip, NY (ISP); New York, NY LaGuardia (LGA); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Pittsburgh, PA (PIT); Portland, ME (PWM); Portsmouth, NH (PSM); Providence, RI (PVD); Syracuse, NY (SYR); Trenton, NJ (TTN); Washington, DC Dulles (IAD); Washington, DC National (DCA)
  • Must have purchased ticket by January 16
  • Rebooked travel must be completed no later than: January 31
  • Customers may make one itinerary change – rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.

Waiver 2:

  • Travel dates: January 19
  • Airports covered: Bloomington, IL (BMI); Cedar Rapids, IA (CID); Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD); Cincinnati, OH (CVG); Cleveland, OH (CLE); Columbus, OH (CMH); Detroit, MI (DTW); Des Moines, IA (DSM); Grand Rapids, MI (GRR); Indianapolis, IN (IND); Kansas City, MO (MCI); St. Louis, MO (STL)
  • Must have purchased ticket by January 17
  • Rebooked travel must be completed no later than: January 31
  • Customers may make one itinerary change – rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.


  • Airports covered (January 18): Des Moines (DSM); Omaha (OMA); Wichita (ICT)
  • Airports covered (January 19): Cincinnati (CVG); Cleveland (CLE); Columbus (CMH); Indianapolis (IND); Kansas City (MCI); St. Louis (STL)
  • Airports covered (January 19-21): Albany (ALB); Boston (BOS); Buffalo (BUF); Chicago (MDW); Hartford (BDL); Manchester (MHT); Newark (EWR); New York LaGuardia (LGA); Philadelphia (PHL); Pittsburgh (PIT); Portland, Maine (PWM); Providence (PVD); Rochester (ROC)
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through the cities 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.


  • Airports covered (January 18): Cedar Rapids, IA (CID); Des Moines, IA (DSM); Hays, KS (HYS); Liberal, KS (LBL);Lincoln, NE (LNK); North Platte, NE (LBF); Omaha, NE (OMA); Rapid City, SD (RAP); Salina, KS (SLN); Scottsbluff, NE (BFF); Sioux Falls, SD (FSD); Wichita, KS (ICT)
  • Airports covered (January 19): Akron/Canton, OH, OH (CAK); Cape Girardeau, MO (CGI); Cleveland, OH (CLE); Columbia, MO (COU); Columbus, OH (CMH); Dayton, OH (DAY); Evansville, IN (EVV); Fort Wayne, IN (FWA); Indianapolis, IN (IND); Kansas City, MO (MCI); Moline, IL (MLI); Peoria, IL (PIA); Quincy, IL (UIN); South Bend, IN (SBN); Springfield, IL (SPI); Springfield, MO (SGF); St. Louis, MO (STL)
  • Airports covered (January 19-20): Albany, NY (ALB); Allentown, PA (ABE); Bangor, ME (BGR); Boston, MA (BOS); Buffalo, NY (BUF); Burlington, VT (BTV); Chicago, IL (ORD); Elmira, NY (ELM); Halifax, NS, CA (YHZ); Harrisburg, PA (MDT); Hartford, CT (BDL); Ithaca, NY (ITH); London, ON, CA (YXU); Manchester, NH (MHT); Montréal, QC, CA (YUL); New York/Newark, NJ (EWR); New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK); New York-LaGuardia, NY (LGA); Philadelphia, PA (PHL); Pittsburgh, PA (PIT); Plattsburgh, NY (PBG); Portland, ME (PWM); Presque Isle, ME (PQI); Providence, RI (PVD); Quebec City, QB, CA (YQB); Rochester, NY (ROC); State College, PA (SCE); Syracuse, NY (SYR); Toronto, ON, CA (YYZ); White Plains, NY (HPN); Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA (AVP)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before January 23, 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, Allegiant, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit

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, the Citi Prestige trip delay protection reimbursed $1,000 of my expenses. Other cards with solid trip protection include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred CardCiti / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Citi Premier Card.

WATCH: Winter storm Harper predicted to bring heavy snow to Northeast this weekend (provided by Travel + Leisure)


Featured image by Rebecca Butala How/Getty Images


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