Flight Change Fees Waived for Some in Winter Storm's Path

With a major winter storm bearing down on the East Coast, some airlines are letting people change their flights from some airports without charging the usual fee.

Airports in New York, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. are among those affected by the travel fee waivers, which are being offered by United, American Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue and others.

The winter storm, expected to sweep through the mid-Atlantic Friday, could bring up to two feet of snow in D.C. and Baltimore, with icing expected further south. The waivers affect flights scheduled for Friday-Sunday to and from airports in the storm's path, from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

Fees for changing flights often cost over $100, but airlines sometimes make exceptions for severe weather, when cancellations are expected.

"You don't want a lot of people sleeping on cots in the airport," said George Hobica, founder of flight analyst site

For this storm, the policies and affected airports vary by airline. United, for example, is waiving the change fee and any difference in fare for travelers rebooking flights scheduled between Jan. 22-24, as long as their departure and arrival cities don't change, the new ticket is booked for the same cabin, and the new flight leaves no later than Jan. 27.

Hobica noted that travelers have other winter storm options as well, including travel insurance they may have already purchased. He said that if their flight is canceled to remember to apply for a full refund.

"There are always some flights that end up going out, and if you really want to get where you want to be going, it's possible that you can show up to the airport and take your chances," Hobica said.

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