After severe weather-disrupted flights across North America for much of the weekend, major carriers gave passengers the chance to avoid the airport entirely when fresh storms threatened on Monday.
Passengers whose travel plans took them through the Northeast region of the US were in for another frustrating day of air travel on Monday – that is, unless those flyers were able to take advantage of waived change fees offered by the airlines. American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue and Air Canada all waived change fees for passengers scheduled to fly through major airports along the eastern seaboard on Monday.
The storms on Monday resulted in thousands of flights being delayed or canceled nationwide. Hub airports in the busy northeast air corridor were especially hard-hit.
Flexible no-fee rebooking was offered to passengers scheduled to pass through American Airlines’ Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) hubs. Meanwhile, United Airlines offered a similar deal to passengers scheduled to arrive or depart at the legacy carrier’s busy Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) hub. Delta Airlines’ JFK hub was also included among the dozens of airports subjected, by airline decrees, to waived change fee policies on Monday.
Airline officials hoped that passengers would change itineraries to avoid the extremely likely possibility of being stuck at the airport for hours or even days as severe weather bogged down operations across the region. In some cases, passengers scheduled on flights likely to be cancelled or seriously delayed were automatically booked on flights departing later in the week by some airlines.
While the bulk of the weather-related woes were centered in and around the Mid-Atlantic region, according to FlightAware, there were trouble spots throughout the rest of North America as well. In addition to a cascade effect from the delays in the Northeast, visibility issues on the west coast and scattered storms throughout the Gulf coast caused headaches for travelers. Additionally, a strengthening tropical storm Franklin is now likely threatening resort vacation plans on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.