With a historically nasty snow storm barreling down on the Northeast U.S., planes, trains and automobiles are going nowhere and travelers are scrambling to rebook.
Airlines already have canceled more than 4,000 flights for Friday and into Saturday morning; Amtrak is stopping train service; and authorities are warning drivers to get off and stay off the roads in face of a forecast two to three feet of snow in Boston and more than a foot in New York City.
Delays and cancellations can boomerang onto flights far from the Northeast because planes and airline crews are out of position. Check, and double-check, on your flight before going to the airport with your carrier or through Sea-Tac Airport’s real-time flight status.
Some flights from Sea-Tac Airport to Boston and the New York area have been canceled Friday, and airlines are easing rebooking rules through the weekend (information is posted on airlines’ websites). Alaska Airlines passengers who had tickets for Boston and Newark flights from Feb. 8-10 can cancel for a full refund; travel also can be rebooked with no change fee (by Feb. 13).
Airline websites were getting overloaded Friday morning as travelers tried to check delays and rebook flights; Air Canada’s website, since Toronto and other Canadian cities also were getting snowed under, was going slow and the airline posted an advisory about the online congestion.
Passengers who are scrambling to get out of the Northeast before the storm hits fully or rebook flights should also use airlines’ reservation phone numbers. Airport ticket counters and websites are busy – and at least you could try phoning while you wait in a real or virtual line.
If you can, travel with carry-on luggage only since that will make it easier to change flights, in case of cancellations, at the last minute.