Q&A for airline passengers dealing with the snowstorm
What should I do if I'm scheduled to fly out of Logan today or tomorrow?
If you booked your flight with a travel agent, you're in luck: They'll do the work for you. Just call your agent, if he hasn't already called you, and he'll rebook your flight if needed. Otherwise, check the airline's website to see if your flight has been canceled.
How will I know if my flight is canceled?
Check the airlines' website, and while you're there sign up for an alert via e-mail, text, or voice mail that will inform you if your flight status has changed. You can also check sites such as Flightstats.com or Boston-based Flightview.com to see what's going on across the country.
If my flight is canceled, how do I get a new flight?
Call the airline's customer service line or rebook it yourself online -- though change fees may apply online. Some airlines automatically rebook passengers when their flights are canceled and notify people via e-mail or by updating their old flight information online. You can also contact reservations agents via the airline's Twitter account, and they'll get in touch with you.
Will I have to pay a change fee or a price difference if the new flight is more expensive?
Not in most cases. Most airlines waive fees -- normally up to $150 to change domestic flights -- when flights are canceled due to weather. If you rebook online, Delta Air Lines automatically waives fees within a certain window, but JetBlue and American sites still charge change fees up front. "It might take a while to 'swim upstream' to get the refund after the fact," said American spokesman Ned Raynolds, "so we strongly recommend that they call reservations -- even if it involves a wait due to a busy period -- to get the flight changed without the fee."
If I'm stuck somewhere overnight, will the airline pay for my hotel room?
Not likely. Airlines generally don't pay for lodging during an "act of God," like a storm, but agents will work with stranded passengers on a case by case basis if their flight is canceled at the last minute, said Delta spokesman Anthony Black.
Can I rebook a flight before my flight is canceled without paying a fee?
Yes. JetBlue, for instance, is waiving fees for passengers booked to travel through cities affected by the storm from Monday to Wednesday, as long as they rebook by Tuesday Jan. 18. Delta allowed Boston passengers to start changing flights as early as yesterday morning to get ahead of the storm and is letting people change flights who were scheduled to travel through Friday.
If I can't get through on the phone or online, should I go to the airport?
A resounding "no" from airlines and travel agents alike, although during the Christmas-week blizzard some people have better luck at the ticket counter than on the phone.
How long will I have to wait to get a new flight?
It depends. Some airlines are saying it could be a few days, but delays aren't expected to be as long as they were after the busy Christmas-week blizzard when planes were filled to capacity with holiday travelers.
How did the airlines prepare for the storm?
Many of them rerouted airplanes that normally would have been stationed overnight in cities expected to get hit by the storm, including Boston, leading to cancellations before the snow even started flying. Some of them, namely Delta and AirTran, were already dealing with massive cancellations due to snow and ice in the south earlier in the week.
Are airlines doing anything differently after the major phone-system problems of the last blizzard?
Not so much. American is beefing up its call center and airport staff but notes that extra workers sometimes end up replacing people who can't make it in due to the storm.
Is Amtrak running? Should I try taking it if I can't take a flight?
Amtrak is planning to run a normal schedule on Wednesday but may make adjustments as the storm moves through. Check the website or call the 800 number for details.