United and Delta Issue Severe Weather Alert, New Policy for Holiday

With snow and ice expected this week in the Midwestern U.S., United Airlines is encouraging customers ticketed for travel December 22-27 to, from or through the region— particularly the airline's Chicago hub— to consider rebooking their itineraries and traveling early, as inclement weather may drive delays or cancellations on Wednesday, Thursday and Christmas Day.

United strongly encourages customers to make use of the customer information tools available at united.com, including:

-Flight status confirmation and notification, with updates to departure and arrival times sent via email or to a mobile device
-The ability to confirm and/or rebook an existing reservation
-Online check-in, which enables customers to print a boarding pass for a departing flight or view options if a booked flight has been canceled due to weather.”

Customers without access to united.com may also book a new reservation, change an existing reservation, or get flight status via United reservations at 1-800-UNITED-1.

United strongly urges travelers, particularly those whose flights have been canceled due to weather, to visit united.com or to call reservations before going to the airport.

Additionally, United urges travelers flying to, from or through the mid-Atlantic and northeast to take advantage of the airline's travel waiver, as certain change fees have been waived for them.”

“Customers may make changes to their itineraries via united.com or by calling United reservations or their travel agencies," United said in a statement. "All changes must be made by midnight of the customer's original travel date. Rescheduled travel may be subject to higher fares if it does not meet original rule and booking-code restrictions or is a new itinerary.”

The revised ticketing policies apply to all tickets purchased December 22, or earlier, for travel December 22-27, to, from and through Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin on any United, United Express or United code-share flight. Origin and destination cities must remain the same, and rescheduled travel must be completed within seven days of original travel date.

Customers with canceled flights are eligible for a full refund, United said. ”United will continue to monitor the weather situation and adjust ticketing policies on united.com.” Visit www.united.com.

Delta Air Lines also issued new travel options for customers whose flight plans may be affected by severe winter weather across the U.S. Midwest— including at Delta's Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul hubs— through Sunday.

Customers booked on flights operated by Delta, Northwest Airlines or Delta Connection carriers to, from or through the following states from December 22-27 may make a one-time change to their travel schedule without fees if tickets are changed by December 27.

States include: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Delta will proactively reduce flight schedules to and from affected airports to ensure delays are minimized during the storm," the carrier said in a statement. "However, customers may wish to consider postponing or rerouting their trip without penalty to avoid possible inconvenience. Travel for changed itineraries must begin by Jan. 1, 2010 and changes to origin and destination may result in a fare increase. Any fare difference between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of rebooking. Customers whose flights are cancelled may request refunds.”

Delta also has extended its winter travel waiver for customers whose travel plans were affected by last weekend's record-breaking snow storm on the U.S. East Coast. Delta customers who were booked on flights between December 18 and December 26 to, from or through Baltimore; Boston; Greensboro, N.C.; Lynchburg, VA.; Newark, N.J.; New York (LaGuardia and JFK); Philadelphia; Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, VA.; Roanoke, VA.; and Washington, D.C. (Dulles and Reagan National) may make a one-time change to their travel schedule without fees if tickets are changed and new travel begins by January 1, 2010.

Visit www.delta.com or www.nwa.com.