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​​The Ins and Outs of Airline Weather Travel Waivers

Written by Suzy Guese

This blog post was updated on February 15, 2016.

[mks_dropcap style=”rounded” size=”52″ bg_color=”#b23629″ txt_color=”#f7f7f7″]W[/mks_dropcap]hen the weather forecast doesn’t look promising, most major airlines will issue weather travel waivers, essentially a free pass to change your travel dates to dodge the storm and avoid being stuck in the airport. Whether the bad weather is eminent, currently occurring or it left behind a major transportation mess, you need to know the ins and outs of these travel waivers. Here are a few tips if you are faced with using your travel get-out-of-a-major-change-fee card or rolling the dice and risking getting out of town.

Make Your Rebooking Decision Quickly:

In most areas of life, experts caution to avoid making rash and quick decisions. However, in the case of a weather travel waiver, you do need to act fast. As many begin tuning into the weather report to see their airports will be snowed in, more and more travelers will be rebooking. While you might have a travel change waiver at your fingertips, don’t delay in making the decision to use it or not. Your rebooking options will be few and far between the longer you wait.

Look Closely at the Specifics:

Not all airlines issue the same travel waiver in terms of specifics. Travelers should examine the dates of travel included in their airline’s travel waiver, the length of time given to travel and what cities are encompassed in the waiver. If you are flying outside those dates, you aren’t usually covered to make changes for free. It is also essential to look for the re-booking time. Some airlines make you re-book within a day or two. Some give you as much time as two weeks to a year to travel on that same ticket. This feature is important if you want to extend or adjust your travel plans without incurring a fee.

Check Your Connecting and Incoming Aircraft Cities:

Most travelers are focused on the A to B, the getting from home to where you want to go. In the process, you might forget that several other locales could play a role in whether your plane will be delayed or canceled due to the weather. Even if you don’t think your airline has issued a travel waiver for your flight route, you might want to check what cities are on the list. If you are connecting in one of those cities in a snowstorm, you might need to rework your itinerary. Call your airline to see if you can change your flight without penalty if you are connecting in a city under a mountain of snow. Also, travelers should be sure to see where their aircraft is coming from before leaving for the airport. You don’t want to be stuck waiting on a plane that might be snowed in in Buffalo

About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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