Airlines Offer Refunds, Waivers Ahead of East Coast Winter Storm

Parts of the East Coast could be hit with an historic amount of snow.

ByABC News
January 20, 2016, 10:10 PM

— -- If you’re planning on traveling to the East Coast this weekend, you may want to think again.

With a potentially historic snowstorm barreling toward the Washington D.C. region on Friday and potentially affecting much of the East Coast, U.S. airlines are warning travelers to check websites and social media for flight status updates and schedule changes.

Domestic carriers including American, United, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue are already bracing for the winter weather, offering travel waivers and refunds for customers traveling to, from or through cities affected by the expected upcoming snowstorm. So what does that mean for you? It could mean changing your flight without paying a fee or the airline refunding your entire trip purchase.

But like anything else, it’s all in the details, so see below what some airlines are offering customers ahead of the storm.

American Airlines

Flying on American Airlines or American Eagle this week? If you bought your ticket before Jan. 20 and your travel days include Jan. 21-24, you may be eligible for a one-time change fee waiver. If you’re booking on coach and hoping to bump yourself up to first class, though, don’t plan on it. Ticket changes are only allowed in the same fare class and the ticket must be used between the same cities as originally purchased.


Unlike other major domestic carries, Southwest never charges for ticket changes -– so get cracking on changing those dates!

Delta Airlines

If you’re planning on traveling with Delta Airlines or Delta Connections this week, you’ll have an a la carte menu to choose from should your flight be heading straight for the snowstorm. This Atlanta-based carrier is not only waiving a ticketing change fee for flights that were scheduled for Jan. 22-24, but it’s also offering refunds for any flights that are cancelled or significantly delayed due to the weather on the East Coast. The only caveat is that the new ticket must be re-issued and used on or before Jan. 27, 2016.

United Airlines

While it’s not offering refunds for delayed flights, United Airlines is offering its passengers refunds for cancelled flights, as well as waiving ticket change fees due to the snowstorm. The fine print is that it’s a one-time waiver, your original travel dates need to include Jan. 22-24, the ticket must be rebooked in the same fare class and it also needs to be used between the same cities as originally purchased… So don’t plan on switching your in-bound Baltimore flight to Las Vegas.


Similar to other U.S. carriers, JetBlue will be offering refunds for cancelled flights and also waiving ticket change fees for its customers. But unlike other airlines, JetBlue is covering the difference in airfare –- so should your new flight suddenly jump in price, you won’t be liable for the increased fare. Just make sure that your travel dates include Jan. 22-23, the original ticket was issued on or before Jan. 20 and that the fare is re-booked by Jan. 29.

And one thing all the airlines have in common? These ticket waivers or refunds only work if your ticket includes an airport affected by the storm, so make sure to check the full list at American, Southwest, Delta, United and JetBlue.