Update on Hurricane Sandy and east coast flights

Travel slowly resumes to normal after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on flights from, to, and through the eastern United States. With over 19,000 domestic and international flights canceled since Sunday, October 28th through Thursday, November 1st it will take a while for airlines to accommodate the backlog of stranded passengers.

Hurricane Sandy
Photo courtesy of earthobservatory.nasa.gov

New York City area airports were especially hard-hit, suffering from both flooding and the lack of airport employees being able to get to work due to lack of mass transport. JFK and Newark International reopened with limited service on Wednesday, October 31st and LaGuardia will offer limited service starting Thursday, November 1st. More cancellations are possible through the end of the week. As a result many airlines have extended their flexible change waivers for flights going through New York’s airports.

If you have a ticket for an effected flight, your airline will reprotect you on new flights. However, the new option given by the airline is not always the most convenient. It may be rescheduled for several days after your original travel dates or with added connections. However you do not always have to accept the flights given by the airline. In most cases airlines are offering flexible changes for travel through November 1st for travel through most of the impacted cities. Our customer service department can go over your options with you which include:

1. If your flight is cancelled you have the option of obtaining a full refund.

2. If you would like to reschedule your trip, you can do so without having to pay any penalty, although in some cases you may have to pay a difference in fare if you’re changing to a more expensive itinerary.

If you absolutely must travel in the next week or so, we suggest rebooking your flight as soon as possible, as seats are going quickly with everyone trying to rebook. Securing a flight for Wednesday will be virtually impossible as airlines play catch up with canceled flights. Aim to book for Thursday or later, since very few flights will depart before then. Most airlines are allowing you to reschedule travel through November 7th without penalty but rescheduling guidelines vary per airline. Otherwise, you may want to consider postponing your trip completely.

If your flights are still scheduled to fly in the next few days we recommend checking your flight status often for last minute delays and cancellations before heading out to the airport. If your flight gets canceled while at the airport, line up at the airline’s counter for assistance but call our customer service desk as well, as we may be able to assist you sooner.

If you purchased travel insurance check your policy for extra coverage not covered by the airlines. You can reach Travel Guard at 877-249-5369.

For assistance, feel free to contact our travel advisors at (800) 243-2724 or by email at Help@CheapAir.com.  You can also use the attached links to see the specific policies for the airline you are flying:


AirTran http://www.airtran.com/weather/default.aspx
Alaska Air http://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/before-your-trip/travel-tips/travel-advisories.aspx
American http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/travelAlerts.jsp
British Airways http://www.britishairways.com/travel/flightops/public/en_us
Delta http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/flight_status_updates/advisories/east_coast_storm/index.jsp
Emirates http://www.emirates.com/us/english/about/operational_updates/operational_updates.aspx
Frontier http://www.flyfrontier.com/flight-info/weather
Hawaiian Airlines http://www.hawaiianairlines.com/notification/pages/east-coast-travel-alert.aspx
JetBlue http://www.jetblue.com/JetblueAlerts/WeatherUpdate.aspx
Lufthansa http://www.lufthansa.com/online/portal/lh/de/nonav/local?nodeid=1874371&l=en&cid=18002
SAS http://www.flysas.com/en/info/?NSSEXC=true&vst=true
Spirit Airlines http://www.spirit.com/Content/Documents/en-US/Press_Releases/20121026a.pdf
Southwest http://www.southwest.com/html/advisories/swa_travel_advisory_20129261351263421217.html
Sun Country http://www.suncountry.com/page/1/Waiver-for-Hurricane-Sandy.jsp
United http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/news/Pages/travelnotices.aspx
US Airways http://www.usairways.com/TravelCenter/Advisories.aspx
Virgin America http://virginamerica.com/news.do?int=news_0000_ab
Virgin Atlantic http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/customer-service/latest-news.html” target=”_blank”>http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/customer-service/latest-news.html
Westjet http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/travel/basics/security-travel-alert/travel-alert.shtml” target=”_blank”>http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/travel/basics/security-travel-alert/travel-alert.shtml


  1. My flight is United A320 and leaves at 8:20am Wednesday morning. Do you know if that flight will be cancelled. I am going to New York for my brother’s funeral. please respond. Thank you

    1. Joslette: We’re sorry to hear of your loss. We were able to locate your booking but please keep in mind that A320 is actually the aircraft type — your are on flight # 604 connecting in Houston to flight # 1423. As of now, both flights are showing “on time” but that can definitely change. We suggest checking throughout the day tomorrow to see if there is an update. The second leg, flight #1423, is the one to be most worried about. To quickly check the status of that flight, it will be easiest to go directly to United’s web site at https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/travel/flightStatus/default.aspx?SID=B928A0B6D20E4740BB7FBA0B4E3E4F34. From that page, just select your departure date and type in your flight number (1423). Hopefully, the flight will depart as scheduled but if you need our assistance, feel free to contact us at (800) 243-2724 or Help@CheapAir.com.

  2. Hello,

    Our return flight from NYC to Burlington VT having been cancelled yesterday (booking number 1249265669), we have had to return with a rental car in a way to be at the job today. How do we proceed to obtain a refund for the cancelled flight ?

    Thanks for your help !


    1. Hi Louis,

      Thank you for notifying us. We have gone ahead and put a request in with JetBlue to refund the return portion of your tickets. Once we have confirmed the refund due to Hurricane Sandy, we will send you an e-mail to notify you.

      Happy to hear you made it home safely!

      -The CheapAir Team

  3. I was able to reschedule the first flight of my itinerary 2 days earlier to avoid the airport closing on October 30. However, United charged me a $350 (for 2 tickets) rebooking fee. The original flight was Allentown to Newark, then Newark to Vegas. My rebooked flight was Allentown,PA to Chicago, then to Vegas. Can I get a fund for this rebooking fee?

    1. Hi Virginia,

      Since you were able to reschedule with United Airlines and they charged you a fee to make the change, we would need to contact United Airlines regarding those charges. It does appear that you may qualify for those charges to be waived, however we would need to check with United Airlines to confirm this. We will contact United to inquire about this for you. We will contact you when we know more.

      -The CheapAir Team

  4. Hi, my flight was USairways 1027 to Philadelphia conection to final destination Madrid. I,ve already rescheduled my flight, I need advice, Can i ask for a refund por my ticket or part of it?

    Thank for your advice


    1. Hi Andrea,

      What is your booking number? We’d be happy to investigate this for you. If you’ve already rescheduled you may not be eligible for a refund, however we would have to confirm this. Please provide your 10 digit booking number.

      Thank you,

      -The CheapAir Team

  5. I am scheduled to travel on Nov.2nd flight #35 from jfk to phoenix on u.s.air. should I be concerned, do I have to rebook.

    1. Hi Maryann,

      You can change your trip if your travel is impacted by Hurricane Sandy. As long as your flight hasn’t already been changed or cancelled by US Airways. Currently your flight has not been cancelled. According to US Airways, they’ve relaxed their change-fee policies. If your trip is affected, you can change your trip online the US Airways website (in most cases).

      Flight Change options:

      • If you are scheduled to travel November 2,2012 through November 7, 2012, your travel date maybe be changed to travel November 8, 2012 through December 20, 2012.
      • When rescheduled travel is completed by December 20, 2012, change fee will be waived, however a difference in fare may apply.

      You may have to pay to change your trip if:

      • You change your origin and/or destination
      • Your travel is outside the dates listed above
      • There is a difference in fare

      -The CheapAir Team

  6. Greetings,

    I am scheduled to fly from LAX to JFK tomorrow, Wed. Nov. 7th and just got news that my AA Flight #40 is cancelled and rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8th. I need to be in NYC tomorrow and am having an agent check for flights on other airlines. I know there is a Nor’esterner coming in…..AA says that have “cancelled” all their flights, is this because they think they won’t be able to land in NYC or because of all of the backups. In other words, if they can book me on another airline is this a wiser decision or should I wait until the 8th ( which means that I miss being there for my daughter’s surgery which is why I am going in the first place.) Any help and advice would be most appreciated! Thank you

    1. Hi Wendy,

      According to American Airlines they are allowing passengers to reschedule. We checked JFK’s website and most of the flights scheduled for today are cancelled. They are showing a few airlines that still show flights scheduled, but that can change. In any event, the effects from last weeks storm on the region has made it difficult for travelers. This storm isn’t predicted to be as devastating.

      Best of luck to your daughter with her surgery!

      -The CheapAir Team