With another storm on way, tips for travel
Just when you thought it was safe to fly again, the snowstorm barreling up the East Coast is prompting airlines to cancel most, if not all, flights out of Logan International Airport today. Logan officials are planning to keep one runway open in the morning and get the second one open later in the day, but delays may last through the week. The storm comes on the heels of the late December blizzard that caused major travel delays and frustrated airline passengers who spent hours on hold, or were disconnected when trying to rebook.
Some passengers, such as Whit Johnson of Wellesley, who was at Logan yesterday typing furiously on his laptop, weren’t able to reschedule their flights before the storm arrived. “Everything is booked solid,’’ said Johnson, who gave up trying to make his business meeting today in California and decided to participate via conference call instead.
For those travelers without a conference call option, here are a few tips for rebooking flights.
What should I do if I’m scheduled to fly out of Logan today?
If you booked your flight with a travel agent, you’re in luck: Your agent will do the checking and rebooking for you. Otherwise, check the airline’s website to see if your flight has been canceled. Make sure the airline has your cellphone number and e-mail address so it can notify you of changes.
How will I know if my flight is canceled?
Check the 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 reservation 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 for domestic flights — when flights are canceled due to weather. If you rebook online, United Airlines and
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,’’ such as a storm, but at Delta, for example, agents will work with stranded passengers on a case-by-case basis if a flight is canceled at the last minute, said the airline’s 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 fly by next Tuesday. Delta allowed Boston passengers to start changing flights as early as Monday morning to get ahead of the storm and is letting those who are scheduled to travel through Friday change flights.
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 had 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.
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 the train if I can’t fly?
Amtrak is planning to run a normal schedule today but may make adjustments as the storm moves through. Check the website or call for updates.
Katie Johnston Chase can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.