Update on Hurricane Irene: Flight Delay, Cancellation Information

Hurricane Irene: Where is it Heading

UPDATE Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011: Major New York area airports expected to re-open Monday morning, expect delays through the week.

UPDATE Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011: Five airports of the greater New York City area will close as of noon eastern time to ALL arriving passenger flights: JFK, Newark, LaGuardia, Stewart International, LaGuardia and Teterboro.

UPDATE Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 5pm CDT

We are now getting reports that airlines have canceled well over 2,000 flights as Hurricane Irene  moves up the eastern seaboard. Delta alone canceled 1,300 weekend flights to cities from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast, and JetBlue says it will cancel nearly 1,000 flights. Other carriers are also expected to cancel some of their flights.

You can track Irene’s path at the National Hurricane Center, and click the airline names below to see the latest travel advisories from specific carriers.

NOTE TO ALL FLYERS: Even if you are not traveling to/from a hurricane-affected region this weekend or early next week, you could still experience delays thanks the domino effect as airlines try to rebook passengers on a limited number of seats; we are advising all flyers to stay in touch with their airline over the weekend and beyond.

What You Need to Know about Airline Fee Waivers

Airlines have become increasing pro-active when it comes to waiving those steep change fees to and from destinations affected by bad weather, and we are seeing this happen now in advance of Hurricane Irene. Note: If you are traveling to an affected area (or to/from a region that could be affected) , know that some carriers may change your reservations automatically so be sure to check your airline’s website in case you’ve been rebooked.

Which Airlines are Waiving Fees

Below is a list of airlines; click the name for information on current travel advisories, and keep checking back, as affected locations and new travel dates will keep changing.

AirTran: Change fees are being waived.

Alaska: NEW travel advisory; change fees waived.

American: Change fees are being waived.

Delta: UPDATED change fees being waived.

Frontier: Travel advisory; change fees waived

JetBlue: Change fees are being waived.

Southwest: Travel advisory; no change fees

Spirit: UPDATED change fees being waived.

United/Continental: Change fees are being waived.

US Airways: Change fees are being waived.

Virgin America: Travel advisory; change fees being waived

Again, keep checking back as the situation remains fluid.

Flight Delays, Cancellations: What to Do

If you find our your flight has been canceled or delayed, there are some things you must do, and start by contacting your airline immediately. Some other useful tips:

First, contact your airline immediately, and here are other tips to follow:

  • Multi-task: If your flight is canceled or delayed, immediately get in line and listen to the gate agent; at the same time, call the airline (it may be quicker)
  • Use elite miles status: If you have a dedicated number to contact your airline with, now is the time to use it
  • Follow airline on Twitter: Airlines have staff monitoring social networks, and may respond more quickly to tweets for help than other means of communication
  • Do not be late: Delays can evaporate and windows of opportunity for take-off can be short; if you?re not present for boarding, you may be out of luck
  • Hotel contacts: Use the delay (and your smart phone) to find local hotel numbers; when storms hit, rooms fill up fast

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Published: August 23, 2011