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Tips and links for surviving Thanksgiving travel woes

Sandra Bookman reports from LaGuardia Airport
November 26, 2013 2:22:58 PM PST
Nasty weather headed toward the East Coast threatens to dampen holiday spirits as millions of Americans get ready to travel for Thanksgiving.

Storms have already caused major problems parts of the southwest and south, causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled. As the storm continues east, some of the country's busiest airports in New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C., could see big delays.

Delta Air Lines has already issued a travel advisory for both JFK and LaGuardia allowing people to change their flights that are going out on Wednesday the 27th without a penalty, and without a change fee.

If weather slows down your holiday travel, here are some tips for rebooking flights and getting last-minute hotel rooms:

- Use apps like HotelTonight and Priceline to find last-minute hotel discounts for that night. Warning: Many of the rooms are non-refundable when booked.

- If you miss your flight connection - or bad weather causes delays - get in line to speak to a customer service representative. But also, call the airline directly. If the phone lines are jammed, try the airline's overseas numbers. You'll pay long-distance rates, but might not have to wait. (Add those numbers to your phone now.) Finally, consider sending a Tweet to the airline.

- Consider buying a one-day pass to the airline lounge. For one thing, there are usually free drinks and light snacks. But the real secret to the lounges is that the airline staffs them with some of its best - and friendliest - ticket agents. The lines are shorter and these agents are magically able to find empty seats. One-day passes typically cost $50 but discounts can sometimes be found in advance online.

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