Northeastern US winter storm warning: free rebooking

By John Walton, January 6 2011
Northeastern US winter storm warning: free rebooking


On Thursday afternoon (Australia time), American Airlines is the latest carrier offering free rebooking for its passengers in the Northeast USA likely to be affected by the storm. 

United and Continental are allowing free flight rebookings in the US Northeast this weekend in advance of a major winter storm, which is being forecast for the region. Travellers to and from the area can fly earlier or later, and those connecting through can reroute their journeys.

The move is standard for a forecast winter storm, and travellers flying via airports in the region can choose flights through the airlines' other hubs to avoid likely delays and cancellations.

United's hub at Washington Dulles (IAD) and Continental's at Newark (EWR) are particularly likely to be affected. Other airlines with hubs or significant operations in the area will probably follow suit, and we will continue to post them at the top of this article.

Look for the offer to be extended to other airports: New York's Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Washington National (DCA) and Boston Logan (BOS).

As usual when there's likely to be a high volume of rebookings, it's best to try to rebook online rather than by ringing up the airlines' helpdesks, which tend to have immensely long hold times.

Australian Business Traveller's top tips for dealing with snow delays in the US:

  • escape them by flying via warmer southern US hubs in Texas or California
  • avoid the last flight of the day if at all possible
  • know what your other connection options are in the case of delay
  • wear sturdy shoes in case you have to trudge through ice and snow to airstairs
  • get to the airport early and be prepared for a wait
  • make sure you have the necessities in your hand luggage in case your hold luggage goes astray

If you're delayed and flying economy, buy your way into your airline's premium lounge (fees usually range between US$ 25-75). Access is free for members of the airlines' frequent flyer programmes holding premium status. Star Alliance, oneworld, and Skyteam partner airlines' top-level status flyers also have free access. The lounges are more comfortable, with Wi-Fi and seating, lines to rebook are shorter, and staff tend to be more experienced.

Are you rebooking? What are your tips and tricks for dealing with wintry weather?

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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