Holiday flyers could face delays, cancellations

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INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers flying for the holiday this week could experience delays or cancellations as a dangerous winter storm moves towards the east coast.

At the Indianapolis International Airport, Monday, Leah Fox of Ohio was waiting with her parents for her flight to Washington D.C. She’s going on a short trip and hopes to be back home by Thanksgiving.

“If I don’t make these flights, then I’m going to completely miss Thanksgiving with my family,” she worried.

“There’s always a risk of some frozen precipitation that can throw things off,” said the airport’s spokesman Carlo Bertolini, adding that this is why travelers should know what they’ve signed up for.

For example, if you end up wanting to change your flight, it could cost you up to $200 for Delta, United, and American. Virgin America and Frontier customers could pay $100. Flyers traveling with Southwest don’t pay any fees.

However, weather cancellations or delays could change the rules, said Bertolini.

“Airlines will from time to time, during a very significant system moving in… try to proactively offer flexibility to passengers to encourage them to maybe call up and ask or request for a change. This involves typically waiving a change fee and sometimes even putting off the flight for a certain window of time at no cost,” he explained.

Like many people, Fox bought her ticket through an online third-party website, but admits, she didn’t read the fine print. Bertolini said that’s where you can collect even more fees.

“If you go through a third-party and for example maybe you just can’t make a trip for whatever reason, they may have stricter use it or lose it provisions than the airlines themselves do.”

But that’s not Fox’s biggest worry. She just wants to make it home on time.

“My biggest fear is just being stuck in an airport somewhere, you know, while everybody else around me is, you know, having a good time.”

For anyone planning a trip during the Christmas holiday, Bertolini advised choosing early morning flights. He said flight schedules re-set overnight so that could lessen your chance of running into a cascading delay where airlines are trying to catch up throughout the day.

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