Airlines Issue Travel Waivers Ahead of East Coast Winter Storm Gail

Dec 19, 2020 Impacting Travel

Airlines Issue Travel Waivers Ahead of East Coast Winter Storm Gail

If you plan to fly this week before the holidays, your air travel arrangements may be interrupted by Winter Storm Gail. Airlines have already started issuing broad travel waivers for passengers hoping to weather the storm by flying earlier, later, or canceling altogether.

AccuWeather called the Northeast development a “highly successful storm,” and it is forecast to be the most significant the East Coast has seen in years. Its anticipated impact areas extend from Maine to Virginia and North Carolina.

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Gail is forecast to drop more snow than all of the storms in recent winters in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston combined. The Weather Service’s snow forecast for Washington, DC, is three to four inches; for Philadelphia, eight to 12 inches; for New York City, 14 inches; and for Boston, 8 to 12 inches.

But, the heaviest snowfall is predicted to land in western Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania, which can see up to 2 feet of snow combined with gusty winds, leading to near-blizzard conditions from Wednesday through Thursday. in the morning.

According to USA Today, each airline determines which travel dates and destinations their exemptions cover, and the fine print terms will also differ by airline. They are likely to adjust in the coming days to accommodate changes in the storm’s projected track and severity.

Airplane covered in snow and ice during a winter storm.
PHOTO: Airplane covered in snow and ice during a winter storm. (Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / nycshooter)

Customers with non-refundable tickets will not be eligible for refunds unless the airline itself cancels their flight. But travelers (even those with basic economy tickets) can choose to cancel their trip and receive future flight credit for the amount paid for their ticket, and they won’t be stuck with nasty exchange fees when rebooking.

Ticket holders who need to change their flights this week should do so carefully, as flight options are already limited due to cuts caused by the pandemic and many passengers will be scrambling to modify their plans this week.

Here is a summary of the current exemption conditions of the major airlines:

american airlines

Travel dates: December 16-17

Traveling to / from: 37 destinations, including major cities such as Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC

Delta airlines

Travel dates: December 16-17

Traveling to / from: 19 destinations including Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Syracuse.

JetBlue Airways

Travel dates: December 16-17

Traveling to / from: 10 destinations including Baltimore, Boston, Hartford and New York.

Southwest Airlines

Travel dates: December 16-17

Traveling to / from: 12 destinations including Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC

Spirit Airlines

Travel dates: December 16-17

Traveling to / from: 12 destinations, including Hartford, Connecticut; New York LaGuardia; Newark, NJ; and Akron, Ohio.

United airlines

Travel dates: December 16-17

Traveling to / from: 21 destinations, including Albany, New York; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Baltimore; Boston; and New York.

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