I recently wrote a tip about how to get your money back in full instead of a trip credit when an airline issues a travel waiver. Another tip I have regarding airline travel waivers or a change of schedule is that you can change your flight to a time or aircraft that might have been more expensive than the original one you purchased at no extra charge.
I’ve used this trick before, especially when I buy tickets months in advance. I almost always buy the cheapest ticket with either cash or miles, even if it’s at a time or aircraft I don’t really want to take, because I know that airlines frequently change their schedules. So if they change my booked departure time by an hour or two (depends on the airline), I can almost always call them up and get the reservation agent to change it to the flight I really want.
The same goes for if there’s bad weather and an airline offers a flight waiver. For example, let’s say I wanted to fly LAX to JFK this Saturday. I’d much prefer to be on the 11am flight, which would get me in at 7pm but it’s a whopping $1,615. I wouldn’t drop that kind of money to arrive five hours earlier so I’d book the 4pm flight, which is only $409 (see screenshot below).
Now, the trick to get on the earlier and more expensive flight is to monitor the weather and flights and act once the airline offers a waiver. That way, you have the best chance of getting a seat(s) on the most desired flight and the earlier you book, the better chance you have of getting a good seat (ahem, aisle or window).