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Posted at 1:44 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Airlines anticipate snow delays

By Associated Press and Staff Reports

Washington may get a light snowfall Friday, but the forecast calls for heavier snowfall in the Northeast, with up to nine inches possible in some areas. A winter storm watch has been issued for an area including Manhattan, Long Island, southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey.

American, United and Continental all say there could be travel disruptions at large airports such as Newark, LaGuardia and JFK in the New York City area.

American said Thursday that customers scheduled to fly to, from or through 14 airports in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts on Saturday or Sunday can change their itinerary without paying the usual $150 rebooking fee if they begin their rescheduled trip no later than Monday.

Delta Air Lines made the same offer for weekend travel to those states plus Rhode Island if the rescheduled trip starts on or before next Friday. Customers could get hit with a higher fare.

United and Continental waived their $150 change fee for travel at 14 airports in the Northeast between Friday and Monday. They said they would also waive any difference in fare if the rescheduled trip starts by Jan. 23. JetBlue, AirTran and Frontier also said they would waive change fees.

Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView, which tracks airport delays, said airlines were trying to make the best out of a bad weather situation by waiving rebooking penalties and using Twitter to warn passengers early about possible delays.

"There's definitely a shift in how airlines are responding to the weather," he said. "Gone are the days when they'd just say, 'It's weather and there's nothing we can do about it.'"

The memory of last week's snowstorm is still fresh in everyone's minds, although the forecast calls for less snow this time. Air, bus and rail travel were all shut down in the days after Christmas as snow blanketed the Northeast. Airlines canceled thousands of flights and major airports, such as JFK and Newark Liberty, also closed.

Here is a list of airline waivers that have been issued so far:

American Airlines
Continental Airlines
Delta Airlines
Frontier Airlines
JetBlue
United Airlines
US Airways

Check with your airline to see if your travel plans may be affected and what rules are in place if you do need to change your flight.

Airlines serving BWI
Airlines serving Dulles
Airlines serving Reagan National

By Associated Press and Staff Reports  | January 7, 2011; 1:44 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Airlines, Aviation, Weather  
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