A winter storm brewing in the northeast is set to upend weekend travel plans, with more than 5,600 U.S. flights canceled between Friday and Sunday.
The powerful nor’easter is expected to rip through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast starting Friday night. Airlines canceled more than 1,450 Friday flights within, into, or out of the United States and delayed over 5,650, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.
The storm has affected even more Saturday flights, with more than 3,500 U.S. flights canceled as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Affected airlines include JetBlue Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Hundreds of Sunday flights have already been canceled as well.
Travelers should check their flight status before heading to the airport and look into whether their flight is covered by travel waivers that will allow them to rebook without additional charges.
“The vast majority of impacted flights have been canceled in advance so we could proactively notify and accommodate our customers and avoid last-minute disruptions at the airport,” American Airlines spokesperson Curtis Blessing told USA TODAY in an emailed statement. “We apologize to our customers whose travel plans may be affected, and want to thank our team who are working tirelessly to help us safely care for our customers.”
Delta suspended operations at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty and Boston Logan airports Saturday through Sunday morning but expects to restart operations Sunday afternoon, “depending on conditions,” according to a statement from spokesperson Morgan Durrant.
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What happens if my flight is canceled due to weather?
Airlines have been rolling out weather waivers that allow affected passengers to change their flight without penalty.
► American Airlines: American Airlines will allow affected passengers to rebook without change fees. The waiver covers airports in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. A full list of affected airports can be found on the airline’s website.
The waiver covers customers who had booked a ticket in any fare class, bought their original ticket by Jan. 26 and had been scheduled to travel between Friday and Sunday.
Changes must be booked by Sunday. The new flight cannot change the origin or destination city and must be rebooked in the same cabin or the passenger will have to pay the difference. Rebooked flights must begin by Feb. 5 and must be completed within one year of the original ticket date.
► Southwest: Southwest warned that flights to and from New York, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Washington, D.C. may be delayed, diverted or canceled between Friday and Sunday due to weather conditions.
Affected customers can rebook a flight in their original class or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel without paying additional charges. Passengers can rebook on their mobile app or by calling the airline’s customer service at 1-800-435-9792.
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► Delta: The airline issued a travel waiver Wednesday that covers Friday and Saturday flights to and from airports in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, South Carolina, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington, D.C.
The rebooked flight must take place on or before Feb. 1 in the same cabin originally booked for fare differences to be waived. The airline encourages customers to check their flight status on the airline’s website or app.
Delta will automatically rebook passengers whose flight was canceled on the next available flight to minimize delays. Customers are encouraged to check their flight status on the Fly Delta app or Delta’s website.
►United: The airline will waive any change fees and difference in fares for passengers who had planned to travel between Wednesday and Sunday, so long as they had purchased the original ticket by Jan. 25. Rebooked flights departing on or before Feb. 2 will be covered so long as the new flight is in the same fare class and between the same cities.
The waiver includes flights to and from airports in Ohio, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
► JetBlue: Jetblue on Wednesday announced that passengers flying to select destinations can rebook a flight without any change or cancellation fees and fare differences for travel between Friday and Saturday for flights booked on or before Jan. 26. Customers will be able to rebook their flight under the waiver for travel through Tuesday and can schedule their flight online on Jetblue.com. Passengers can also opt for a refund.
The JetBlue waiver applies to flights to and from airports in New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
“Customers should continue to monitor the status of their flights, as there is a possibility of additional cancellations based on the storm’s severity and path,” JetBlue spokesperson Derek Dombrowski told USA TODAY via email.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.