Are Southwest Airlines flights canceled because of Winter Storm Jonas? Will the blizzard cause delays? What if you booked through an app like Orbitz rather than the airline itself? Southwest is already canceling hundreds of flights ahead of the blizzard and it’s letting customers reschedule their flights without penalty in affected areas.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Southwest Has Already Canceled Hundreds of Flights
Southwest Airlines has already canceled hundreds of flights because of the impending winter storm. Many travelers on Twitter have reported that their flights have been canceled. NBC 6 reported that Southwest has already cancelled 400 flights, so you should check before heading to the airport. In addition, WBTV reported that all Southwest flights in Charlotte were canceled for Friday.
Accuweather has referred to the storm as “colossal” with the potential to impact more than 50 million people and halt travel. If you’re thinking of driving through the storm, you really should rethink that idea. Even airlines are expecting big delays. The storm is expected to begin on Friday, move northeast, and exit New England sometime on Sunday. But it might still take awhile for things to get back to normal after it leaves. Passengers on canceled flights have to be rebooked, which can delay airlines’ ability to get back to “business as usual” after a major storm like Jonas is expected to be. Weather.com warns that more than 14 states will be impacted, with blizzards likely in some areas. Of course, weather is fickle and all this is subject to change.
2. Southwest Airlines Has Travel Alerts for the Following Airports
Southwest Airlines currently has travel alerts for the following airports. These alerts could change, so to see which airports are affected by Southwest’s accommodation policy, and the specific policies for each airport, click here.
Boston Logan (BOS)
Little Rock (LIT)
Long Island/Islip (ISP)
New York/Newark (EWR)
New York (LaGuardia) (LGA)
Washington (Dulles) (IAD)
Washington (Reagan National) (DCA)
3. Southwest Is Offering Fee Waivers for People Traveling Through the Storm
Southwest Airlines is already expecting its services to be disrupted at some point between Thursday, January 21 and Sunday, January 24. This could include delays, diversions to different locations, or even cancelations. Customers with reservations that include travel to/from/through affected airports beginning Friday, January 22 through Sunday, January 24 can change their travel plans without penalty, as long as they use the same class, travel through the same origin/destination, and travel with 14 days of their original date. Changing your flight is voluntary, not required. You can only change your plans online if you booked through southwest.com. Otherwise, call 1-800-435-9792.
4. Keep Tabs on Your Flight Status
You never know when your flight might change or even get canceled, so you’ll want to keep close tabs on that. You can use Southwest Airlines’ app, or you can input your flight number at this link to stay updated on what’s happening. Don’t assume you know if your flight will be delayed. Check first before heading out or reschedule your flight altogether. Remember, even if you make it in you may still have some trouble on the roads when you’re leaving the airport. You can sign up for alerts and reminders about your Southwest flight’s status by email or phone here. If you’re picking up a loved one, you can track the flight live on FlightAware.
5. If You Booked Your Flight Through Expedia or a Similar Service, You May Have More Trouble Changing the Flight
If you booked your Southwest flight through a service like Expedia or Orbitz, rather than the airline itself, changing the flight might be a little more complicated. You should go to the service’s webpage and search for any Travel Advisories. Or you can just Google the service’s name and “travel advisory” to likely find the right webpage. Orbitz, for example, requires that you submit a Refund Request Form online if your airline is giving refunds. If you booked through Expedia and your airline is waiving fees, you’ll need to call Expedia Customer Service to make the change. More information is here.