Travel woes aren’t confined to the long weekends. More than 1,370 US flights have been canceled Thursday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.
US cancellations are largely driven by American Airlines which canceled 412 (or 13% of flights), United Airlines, which canceled 133, (or 5% of its schedule), and Southwest which canceled 125 (or 3%), as of 3: 3 p.m. EST.
All three airlines were affected by thunderstorms in Dallas – a major hub, especially for American – on Wednesday night. And with more bad weather expected on the East Coast this weekend, operations could continue to see disruptions.
Fliers have taken to social media to voice their outrage, with many claiming their attempts to get assistance online or over the phone have not been successful.
Is travel insurance worth it?:What to know before you book your next trip
This week’s cancellations come at the heels of a busy travel weekend where nearly 2,800US flights were canceled and more than 20,000 were delayed between Friday and Monday, according to FlightAware. The numbers were even higher globally.
Airlines and tourist destinations are anticipating monster crowds this summer as travel restrictions ease and pandemic fatigue overcomes lingering fear of contracting COVID-19 during travel.
In some cases, the airlines saw this coming. In fact, last week, Delta announced it was cutting 100 daily flights this summer to mitigate the impact of factors outside their control, like weather and “higher-than-planned” employee absences as COVID cases increase. JetBlue Airways also announced earlier this year it would cut its schedule in the hopes of reducing summer travel woes.
What happens if my flight is canceled due to weather?
Some airlines have been rolling out weather waivers that allow affected passengers to change their flights without penalty.
► American Airlines: American Airlines will allow affected passengers to rebook without change fees. The waiver covers travelers going to or from Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas (DFW) and booked by June 3.
The airline also issued a waiver for travelers going between Islip, NY (ISP), New York Kennedy (JFK), New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA), Newark, NJ (EWR) and White Plains / Westchester County, NY (HPN) . The original ticket must have been purchased by June 1, scheduled to travel between June 1-2 and can rebook between June 1-7.
A full list of restrictions can be found on the American’s website.
► United: The airline will waive any change fees and difference in fares for passengers who had planned to travel between New York/Newark, NJ (EWR), New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK), New York-LaGuardia, NY (LGA) or White Plains, NY (HPN) through June 7. The original ticket must have been purchased by May 30 with travel dates between June 1-3.
United also issued a waiver for the mid-Atlantic covering travelers going between Baltimore (BWI), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington, DC – Dulles (IAD), Washington-National, DC (DCA). The original ticket must have been purchased by June 1 with travel dated between June 2-3.
► You can check for Southwest’s latest advisories here, Delta’s weather advisories can be found here and JetBlue’s travel alerts are here.
What do airlines owe you if they cancel your flight?
Airlines are required by the Department of Transportation to offer a refund when they cancel a flight. It doesn’t matter if the reason for the cancellation was outside their control, like weather, or within their control, like maintenance issues or flight crew shortages. And it doesn’t matter what kind of ticket you bought, including nonrefundable tickets or basic economy tickets.
More information on what you’re owed:What airlines owe you when flights are canceled, delayed
Contributor: Eve Chen, Dawn Gilbertson