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Airlines ease change fees for Thanksgiving travel ahead of Northeast storm

Fliers heading to the Northeast on Wednesday may change tickets without penalty on many airlines

Airlines are allowing Thanksgiving travelers flying to the East Coast on Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year, to change their tickets without penalty because of a storm expected to dump rain and snow from Virginia to Maine.

Many U.S. airlines announced Monday that they are waiving change fees for Wednesday flights to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and other Northeast destinations.

Accuweather predicts major travel disruptions and delays due to a storm expected to hit Wednesday and Thursday. It will bring snow as far south as northern Virginia and into New England, where 6 to 12 inches of snow is predicted.

American Airlines, which includes American Eagle, US Air and US Air Express, will allow passengers to fly Tuesday or on Thanksgiving Day rather than Wednesday without being charged to change their tickets, according to its website.

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airlines are allowing fliers to travel as late as Friday without penalty, their websites say.

Under the fee waiver, passengers may change their travel plans without penalty or request a refund.

What can you do if you have a ticket to fly Wednesday?

--If you want to leave earlier or later, contact your airline immediately. Many flights over the holiday weekend are 90% full and some may be fully booked. Even at non-holiday times, airline load factors have been running at more than 84%, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

--If you want to stick with a Wednesday flight, sign up to receive text or email airline alerts about your flight. Also watch your airlines's Twitter feed and Facebook page for up-to-date information that may not appear on the website.

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