You Can Get Home for Thanksgiving If You Leave Right Now

Airlines will let passengers booked for tomorrow leave today.

November 25, 2014, 12:35 PM
PHOTO: A crowded airport is pictured in this stock image.
A crowded airport is pictured in this stock image.
Getty Images

— -- What do you get when you mix rain and snow in the Northeast and the 46 million people expected to travel for Thanksgiving?

A recipe for a travel disaster.

But those with plans to travel Wednesday -- one of the season's busiest days -- can get ahead of the winter weather by leaving today.

Most airlines have issued flexible travel policies for those holding tickets to fly to, from or through many East Coast Airports.

Tuesday, though not as busy as Wednesday, is still a heavily traveled day for the airlines. Air travelers who find themselves shut out of flights already oversold today should aim for Thursday morning flights. Thursday is traditionally a slow day for the airlines.

Though policies vary slightly among individual carriers, if your flight is canceled or significantly delayed, you are entitled to a refund. Carriers will also allow a one-time change on flights are not canceled for no fee. Here is a list of airlines with flexible travel policies and links to individual sites.

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines



US Airways


A significant Nor'easter is set to hit the East Coast, with rain expected along I-95 from Orlando to Raleigh and rain from Washington, DC to Boston in the early part of the day, changing to snow in early afternoon. New York and Boston could get between 2-6 inches of snow.

Airlines for America, an industry trade organization, today projected that 24.6 million passengers will travel globally on U.S. airlines during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period.

This is a 1.5 percent increase from last year, or an additional 31,000 passengers per day. The busiest days are projected to be Sunday, Nov. 30; Monday, Dec. 1; and Wednesday, Nov. 26. The lightest travel days are Thursday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Nov. 28.

Those planning to travel by train along the Northeast corridor may fare better than air travelers Wednesday. Amtrak spokesperson Craig Schulz said the company plans to operate a full schedule, which includes additional trains to service the increase in passengers. Amtrak expects to carry a record 760,000 passengers over the holiday travel period, which would top last year’s record of 754,000.

But given the uncertainty of the weather, Schulz said Amtrak is "pre-positioning equipment in strategic locations throughout the Northeast Corridor to quickly respond should the need arise. We have extra staff on standby – particularly tree trimming crews, as one of our major concerns during a storm like this is the wind and the possibility of trees coming down in the power lines.

"We'll be ready," he said.

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