What to Know
- A major storm moving across the country will affect travelers from coast to coast
- In Massachusetts, any travel on Friday will be difficult, but flights will be most impacted: delayed or canceled from the high winds and driving rain.
- Many airlines are already offering travel waivers for people who need to switch their flights to avoid heavy weather
A major winter storm is already causing problems out west, forcing people headed that way to change their plans.
Aga Ilwicka changed hers.
“I’m traveling from Boston to Chicago and then from Chicago to San Francisco and we had to change our plane in Chicago because there is a huge snow storm coming in on Thursday,” she said.
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As we approach one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, Mother Nature is playing Grinch. That major storm moving across the country will affect travelers from coast to coast.
Tracking Friday's storm in Mass.
In the Boston area, the storm impacts get rolling Thursday evening, with rain getting more intense by Friday morning. Any travel on Friday will be difficult, but flights will be most impacted: delayed or canceled from the high winds and driving rain.
The strongest winds seem to come between 3 and 8 p.m. on Friday. In that time, the gusts could be as high as 60 mph, enough for some power outages and wind damage. Afterward, cold air will rush in and temperatures will crash to the upper 20s in hours, which could cause roads to freeze over.
Already in the Pacific Northwest, some flights into Seattle have been canceled.
“I had customers out on the West Coast that were coming back east coast via Seattle so yesterday I re-routed them via Phoenix,” said Suzanne Bowering, with Holiday Travel.
Airlines have become much better at getting ahead of the storm, she said: “They used to wait until the last minute and then put up travel advisories and by then it was too late.”
Most of the airlines, including United, American, Southwest, JetBlue, Delta, Alaska and Spirit, are already offering travel waivers for people who need to switch their flights to avoid heavy weather.
“They don’t want you at the counter yelling at their employees any more than you want to be there,” Bowering noted.
Travelers have to check with their individual airline, because waiver policies differ depending on when the ticket was bought and where the plane is taking off and landing.
“So like, the Midwest, they’ve already started their policy. They started it for traveling today and it goes through Friday. Some of the other ones, they start it tomorrow,” Bowering said.
If you're thinking about changing your flight, think fast. Ilwicka said United made the process easy, but there are limited flights and lots of passengers, so you could be shut out if you wait too long.