Frosty planeThousands of airline passengers in the United States and overseas are still stranded after this weekend’s snowstorm on the East Coast, and more storms are heading for the Midwest in the coming weekend.  Several airlines are offering travelers heading to or from parts of the country affected by winter storms the ability to change their flight plans without being charged a fee.  Here’s a snapshot of what each of the major carriers are doing to help you:

American Airlines says they are following their storm policy. People flying in and out of Wisconsin today through December 24th, are able to change their flights without a fee or penalty.  The best way to do so, is to call American’s Reservation Services at 1-800-433-7300.  That line is open 24/7.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines are allowing passengers with tickets from Dec. 22 to 27 to make free changes.

United Airlines is encouraging customers who are flying to, from or through the Midwest between Dec. 22 and 27 to change their flight itineraries and travel early.

Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines are allowing any passengers with tickets through Milwaukee for Dec. 22 to 25 to rebook for free.

AirTran Airways is allowing passengers traveling to or from Mitchell, Chicago Midway Airport and a few other Midwest cities who have Dec. 24 or 25 tickets to change their booking for free.

The New York Times addresses some of the questions travelers may have about their flights.  If you’re reading this post from an airport gate somewhere, you’ll appreciate this article.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • An American Airlines flight carrying 154 people skidded across a Jamaican runway in “heavy rain”, bouncing across the tarmac and injuring more than 40 people before it stopped just short of the Caribbean Sea, officials and witnesses said.  The impact cracked open the fuselage, crushed the left landing gear and separated both engines from the Boeing 737-800.  Approximately 44 people were taken to hospitals with broken bones and back pains and four were seriously hurt, airport and Jamaican government officials said.  (American Airlines said two people were admitted to the hospital and nobody suffered life-threatening injuries.)  I live in Seattle and know “heavy rain” – but authorities said that the rain in Jamaica has been so heavy that it washed away a 7-year old girl on Tuesday, leading to bus crash in which two people died.  How can anyone be expected to land a passenger plane in those types of conditions?
  • ABC News has spotlighted another potential security gaff by the TSA.  With the approval of the TSA the Sig Sauer gun company has released specific information about the model of pistol that Federal Air Marshals will soon be carrying – data that both current and former Air Marshals say puts the Marshals and air passengers at risk.  The disclosure comes on the heels of a massive security breach in which the TSA published online an improperly redacted manual that revealed sensitive information about air passenger screening.
  • There was a surprise wedding at Corpus Christi International Airport earlier this week.  Robyn Moore said she greeted her boyfriend, William Acosta, Monday at the airport with a camera and a wedding party ready to make good on the marriage license they filled out last week.  Oh the irony.  All those airplanes around and still no place to escape to, eh Will?