Amtrak canceling trains, airlines allowing free flight changes ahead of winter storm in Chicago

Amtrak has canceled multiple scheduled trains across the country, including many running through Chicago.

The timing of this upcoming winter storm could not be worse with snow and below-freezing wind chills moving in on the busiest travel day of the week — Thursday.

The bulk of Amtrak cancelations will be from Thursday through Sunday.

However, there are at least two Chicago routes that were canceled Tuesday due to severe weather warnings. 

Multiple airlines are now issuing waivers so that passengers can change their flights — free of cost.

Nearly three million passengers are expected to travel through Chicago airports.


So far, there haven't been any mass cancelations, but officials are encouraging travelers to consider leaving Wednesday ahead of the storm.

The Chicago Department of Aviation says no matter what weather heads this way, it is prepared.

MORE: Wind chills as low as -40 to -60 as dangerous blast of arctic air to tighten its grip on large part of US

"We have 500 staff members who are ready to work 24/7 and 350 pieces of snow removing equipment, lots of salt, and lots of deicer for the roadways. The airlines are prepared too to deice their aircraft," said Karen Pride, of the Chicago Department of Aviation. 

This storm is the latest obstacle in what's been a turbulent year for air travel.

Staffing shortages led to delays and cancelations across the United States earlier this year, but with seven-million people expected to fly over the holidays, airlines say they are better prepared. 

"Even the airlines like us are actually better planning to have the kind of surplus staff that we need so that if we do see an increase in sick calls, that we'll, we'll be prepared to handle it," said Josh Earnest, the United Airlines Chief Communications Officer. 

Passengers are encouraged to contact their airline directly to learn about options and any potential delays or cancelations.