Significant delays were reported at major airports throughout the Northeast on Thursday as a late December storm continues to mess up holiday travel schedules.
Worst Airports for Delays
According to FlightStats, some of the worst delays are affecting the busiest airports in the U.S. and Canada including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago’s O’Hare, Cleveland, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, D.C. Smaller airports with big-time delays include Albany and Nantucket.
Airlines Cancel More Flights, Waive Change Fees
Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights this week – during the busy Christmas travel period – and hundreds more have been canceled for Thursday (though not all due to weather). In the meantime, they are pro-actively waiving the expense change fees for travelers who wish to reschedule and travelers whose flight have been delayed or canceled flights (or may be) should immediately get in touch with their airline. See more tips below.
The following airlines are among those bearing the brunt of the storm. Click the carrier’s name for the latest on delays/cancelations and change fee waivers.
Airports Outside Storm Path Can Also See Delays
Even if an airport is not directly affected by the storms, the domino effect of delays may be felt – Dallas’ DFW hub for example, was experiencing moderate delays as of Thursday morning. Plus, other problems are delaying flights at scattered airports. For example, USA Today reports that runway construction in Ft. Lauderdale was behind Thursday morning’s hour-and-a-half long delays at the Florida airport.
What Travelers Can Do
Again, the first step for delayed travelers is to contact the airline immediately – you are competing for space on the next available plane with all the other passengers on your plane and the key to getting a seat is being first in line.
- Contact the airline by multi-tasking: If at the airport, get in line for an airline agent and get on the phone at the same time. Contact the airline via Twitter too; more and more airlines follow social media closely and respond quickly.
- Check other airlines: If your airline has no seats available, ask about alternate airlines and ask if your carrier will make the change without a financial penalty to you. Travelers can speed up the process by getting on a smart phone and finding alternate airlines; saving the airline agent time ultimately saves you time.
- Check alternate routes: Be willing to fly out of your way on an indirect path to your final destination; making a stop at a hub airport can give you more flight options and a better chance getting where you need to go. Again, use a smart phone to speed up the process for the airline.
- Don’t expect amenities: Per the Department of Transportation, there are no federal requirements regarding anything airlines must do for delayed passengers, such providing meal or hotel vouchers. As it states in the Fly-Rights guide, “Contrary to popular belief, airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled.”