The 2013 blizzard hitting the Northeast U.S. has caused flight cancellations throughout the country. In some areas, over 2 feet of snowfall is predicted. The blizzard is forecasted to last through Sunday.
Over 3,500 flights have been cancelled on Friday according to FlightAware.com, an online flight tracking website. Over 1,300 scheduled for Saturday have been cancelled. These numbers may change, depending on the severity of the storm.
Operations are at a standstill at the 3 airports in the New York area, in addition to other airports in the northeastern region – including Boston Logan. Regular operations might resume by 3 PM Saturday, depending on the conditions following the storm.
More than half of the flight cancellations were announced before the blizzard hit the Northeast. This reflects a recent practice of airlines canceling flights before extreme weather conditions arrive, instead of waiting for the worst conditions.
This practice allows travelers to avoid being stranded at airports, and gives them ample time to make alternate travel arrangements.
Due to the predicted weather conditions, airlines are encouraging travelers to change their travel plans, and have relaxed their rules for re-booking flights.
Delta is among the airlines that are waiving re-booking fees, stating that travelers with flights scheduled to nearly two dozen destinations would be allowed to make a one-time change to their travel plans without the standard re-booking fee.
“Delta is closely monitoring conditions along the storm’s forecast path and encourages customers to consider moving up, postponing or re-routing their travel to avoid possible inconvenience from expected flight delays,” the airline stated in an announcement regarding its winter-weather policy.
Southwest Airlines does not charge a re-booking fee, but stated Wednesday that customers at several locations effected by the blizzard would be able to re-book their flights with no recalculation of travel fees.
JetBlue is waiving fees at a dozen airports due to the blizzard. JetBlue’s biggest hubs are New York JFK and Boston Logan, which are both directly in the path of the blizzard.
Most major airlines normally charge $150 or more for re-booking a flight, on top of any additional fees that occur from recalculating fares.
When extreme weather conditions cause flight cancellations, travelers can also opt to receive a refund for the unused portion of their scheduled travel plans, instead of re-booking.
It is worth noting that airlines are not required to provide hotel accommodations for stranded travelers when a flight is cancelled due to weather conditions. Any extra expenses such as meals and rental cars are also not covered by airlines in this situation.
Do you or someone you know have travel plans effected by the blizzard in the Northeast?
Do you think you would be prepared to deal with such a storm?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!