Much of the southeastern United States is bracing for the first major winter storm of 2017 as a mix of snow, sleet and ice is expected to hit the area late Friday into early Saturday.
Winter storm watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, with some scattered areas from Louisiana to Pennsylvania expected to get as much as eight inches of snow and an additional inch of sleet.
Airlines have begun alternating their schedules and rebooking policies ahead of the storm.
American Airlines is letting passengers holding tickets for travel on January 6 and 7 waive the change fee if they don’t change their origin or destination city and rebook in the same cabin. Passengers must have booked a ticket by January 4 and must rebook for flights scheduled before January 11.
Delta Air Lines, which has its main hub in Atlanta where snow is expected, has already canceled 350 flights and issued a travel waiver for January 6-7. Any person travelling through impacted cities who has a flight cancelled or delayed for 90 minutes or more can get a full refund for an unused ticket.
Delta is also letting passengers make a one-time change to their tickets without penalty.
Due to forecasted winter weather in the Southeastern US, we’ve issued a waiver for January 6-7. More here: https://t.co/0soabC8KV8— Delta (@Delta) January 4, 2017
Essential Delta staff at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are remaining on site, including some reportedly sleeping in parked aircraft at the airport to help with any problems caused by the storm.
JetBlue is allowing passengers in impacted cities with travel booked on or before January 5 to rebook travel through January 13 without a fee.
Southwest Airlines is also giving passengers some wiggle room with the approaching storm. Anyone with a reservation on January 6 or 7 who wants to alter flights can rebook in the original class or travel standby without paying any additional charge. Those Southwest passengers booked through the airline’s mobile app can reschedule online or from their phone or tablet.
Passengers who have a Southwest flight cancelled can request a full refund for any unused ticket.
Spirit Airlines is allowing passengers booked on flights on January 6 and 7 to change their flights without penalty, and with the fare difference waived, through January 10. After January 10, Spirit will still waive any change fees but a fare difference may apply.
United Airlines is also allowing passengers flying on January 6 or 7 from the affected cities to change their flights without penalty. United waiving the change fee and any difference in fare for new flights departing on or before January 19 as long as travel is scheduled in the same cabin and between the same cities as the original ticket.