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With Winter Storm Helena on her way to the Southeast this weekend, our trip to Cozumel could have been in jeopardy. The original routing went through an airport that would be getting covered by snow. Fortunately, we found a way to change our routing and avoid the storm, for free! Using this simple tip, you may be able to change your flight plans to avoid potential disaster.
How to Make the Change
We tested this method through American Airlines, but all major U.S. airlines have similar alerts and procedures listed on their respective websites. If you need to change a routing to avoid weather problems, log into your AAdvantage account and click on your reservation. As you can see in the image below, the travel alert shows up on the reservation. This gives you the option to change your flight with no fee, assuming you meet the rule requirements for changing your trip.
Here is what one of the many travel alerts for the next few days looks like, along with the restrictions on changing your flight:
The origination and destination must stay the same, and there must be open seats on the alternative route. In our situation, we were flying MCI – CLT – CZM. To avoid a layover in the middle of the anticipated storm, I was able to change the layover to ORD. I did receive an error when I tried to confirm my reservation online. I simply called AA, and a representative was easily able to make the change at no charge. You may run into a small fee online because of certain tax differences on the new flight, which should be reimbursed. This is not an issue if you actually call the airline.
When we visited Mexico in January of 2015, we ran into a snow storm in Dallas, forcing half of the family to drive back to Kansas City. The airport was a mess, with cancelled flights, long lines, and lots of stranded travelers. I wish we knew about this simple tip back then. We could have avoided the entire mess with a quick phone call!
Hopefully this quick tip helps you adjust reservations, before a winter storm wreaks havoc on your travel plans. Good luck!