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Snowmageddon again? Airlines waive change fees in advance of massive storm expected in Midwest and Northeast

January 31, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Snow clings to the reflective, curved outer surface of Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" sculpture, as snow continues to fall in Millennium Park on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 in downtown Chicago
Snow clings to the reflective, curved outer surface of Anish Kapoor's… (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated…)

Baby, it’s cold outside – and likely to get scary-cold from the Rockies to the East Coast with the approach of "a multi-day, multi-region potentially historic and destructive winter storm." That's the forecast from the Weather Channel's website.

As of Monday, many airlines have announced fee waivers on flight changes so passengers can modify their travel plans before the first snowflakes drop. The snowstorm is expected to be felt in Chicago and stretch into southern cities on Monday night and move on to the Northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Weather Channel.

If you’re traveling this week to anywhere in the Northeast, Midwest and some Southern cities, check the airline’s weather warnings and think about rebooking to avoid getting stuck at an airport. At the very least, check on the status of your flight before you head out to your departing airport. Here's a glimpse of how some airlines are planning for the big chill:

Southwest: The airline’s online Winter Weather Advisory is waiving fare differentials and allowing passengers to rebook flights to and from 14 cities, including Chicago, Denver, El Paso, Kansas City, Mo., and Nashville. The time period during which fees will be waived varies by city. Contact: Southwest, (800) 435-9792.

United: The airline has issued a travel waiver for flights to and from Chicago from Tuesday through Thursday for tickets bought on or before Jan. 30. The airline also will allow ticket changes for passengers traveling from Monday through Thursday on tickets bought on or before Monday. Contact: United, (800) 864-8331.

Continental: The airline is waiving change fees on flights to Chicago from Tuesday through Thursday if you travel by Feb. 10.  Contact: Continental, (800) 523-3273.

JetBlue: The airline is offering fee waivers on changes to tickets for Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and the New York and Washington, D.C. areas. Passengers with tickets to travel Tuesday and Wednesday may rebook travel through Sunday. Contact: JetBlue, (800) 538-2583.

American Airlines: Passengers holding tickets to more than 30 Midwest locations can change their flight plans from Monday through Thursday as long as travel starts as late as Sunday. Destinations range from Detroit to northwest Arkansas and of course Chicago. Ticketed passengers heading for Texas and Santa Fe, N.M., on Monday through Thursday also may change their plans and travel as late as Saturday. Contact: American, (800) 433-7300

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