Airlines canceling thousands of flights, waiving some rebooking fees

- Planning to leave town? Air travel is been severely disrupted and Amtrak says it'll operate a modified schedule. Click here for complete details from SEPTA in and around Philadelphia.

This winter storm has already been affecting air travel around the country and our region’s three major airports are no exception. Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and Atlantic City international airports are all telling travelers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport.

Monday morning, lines in Philadelphia were already long as people tried to beat the storm and get out of town. The airlines don’t want their planes stuck in the middle of a snowstorm.

American Airlines says it canceled more than 450 Monday flights, including those from its regional partners. Tuesday, 1,450 flights have already been canceled. Click here for details on American's travel alerts.

Locally, all American flights from Philadelphia (PHL) before 5pm Tuesday have been canceled, and the airline says it’ll “gradually resume operations after” that time. American handles nearly 80 percent of all flights arriving and departing PHL.

American will let customers whose travel plans are impacted to rebook without change fees. Customers can reschedule their travel on its website by retrieving their reservation, or by calling American reservations at (800) 433-7300. Customers are also encouraged to check the status of their flight on aa.com.

If an American flight has been canceled or excessively delayed, customers may cancel their itinerary and request a refund by clicking here. Customers who booked through a travel agent should contact their agency directly.

Spirit Airlines, which flies from PHL and Atlantic City, will let passengers planning to fly Tuesday and Wednesday rebook, but it’ll have to be done by Saturday to avoid a modification charge or pay a fare difference.

Southwest Airlines, which carries more domestic passengers than any other airline, doesn't expect to operate any flights Tuesday at 14 airports stretching from Washington to Portland, Maine.

In the unlikely event your flight is not canceled, Philadelphia International Airport says it’s prepared for the weather challenges of clearing ice and snow from planes, runways, roadways and walkways.

The airport is going to deploy up to 475 employees on its winter snow patrol to clear 37 million square feet of airfield surface, including runways, taxiways and aprons. The crew will also plow and salt 4.5 million square feet of arrival and departure roadways, I-95 ramps and parking lots in and around the airport.

They have more than 200 pieces of heavy equipment -- including snow plows, backhoes, loaders, brooms, snow blowers and chemical trucks -- plus eight snow melters that can each dissolve 250 tons of snow per hour.

Besides equipment, PHL has 800 tons of salt, 62,000 gallons of runway deicer and 162,000 gallons of aircraft deicer on hand.

“We’re prepared to deal with whatever Mother Nature has in store for us,” airport CEO Chellie Cameron said.

Amtrak will be operating a modified schedule in the Northeast region on Tuesday. The rail operator says passengers with reservations “are strongly encouraged to monitor conditions and make any necessary changes in advance of their scheduled departure” using Amtrak.com or its mobile apps.

Also, there will be limited Acela Express service between New York and Washington, D.C. The Northeast Regional service will run on a modified schedule, with some trains truncated or canceled. And Keystone Service will operate on this severe weather schedule.

Besides Amtrak's main website, click here for its service alerts and notices page for further details.

If necessary, click here for details on Amtrak's refund and exchange policy.

Amtrak says passengers should allow extra time to get to the station and be extremely careful with possible slippery conditions in stations, on platforms and in train doorways. Click here to see its inclement weather preparation plan.

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