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Senator Urges Travel Companies to Help Families Losing February Break

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer asks airlines and cruise operators to reimburse or waive penalty charges.

With school districts across the region forced to cancel February vacations due to missed days from Superstorm Sandy, one lawmaker is working to help families who planned trips that week.

Wantagh was one one of the many districts who has decided to hold school during the previously scheduled February vacation week because of missing seven days of instruction from the Oct. 29 superstorm as well as a nor'easter the following week. The Seaford School District missed six school days from the storms but has not made a decision yet on how to make them up. 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent letters to airlines and cruise line companies Wednesday, urging them to set-up programs to reimburse or waive penalty charges for those families who have to cancel their trips because of their school calendar changed.

Schumer told The Daily News:

 "We literally got more than 100 calls from people who have been planning these vacations for a long time, and now because of Sandy, they have to work or send their kids to school ... It's like adding insult to injury. These are not wealthy people. They generally have nonrefundable reservations."

According to The Daily News, Delta Airlines quickly responded to Schumer's request, and is letting customers with tickets purchased prior to Nov. 19 and departing from La Guardia, JFK, Newark, White Plains or Newburgh between Feb. 15 and Feb. 24 to reschedule without a change fee. They also can choose to get a Delta credit for the purchase amount, spokeswoman Leslie Scott explained, telling The News that "it's the right thing to do." 

JetBlue also announced this week that it would waive its change fee or offer travel credits for customers who purchased tickets to travel to or from New York Metropolitan Airports (JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Newburgh, White Plains) between Feb. 14 and Feb. 25, 2013. These customers can voluntarily rebook their flights (They will be responsible for the difference in airfare, if any) without incurring a change fee or they can cancel their trip and receive a travel bank credit by calling 800-JETBLUE (800-538-2583) by Dec. 31, 2012.  Original travel must have been booked on or before Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.

Other airlines, including American, reportedly were still reviewing Schumer's request.

Did you have a vacation planned for the February break? What will you do now? Tell us in the comments section below.

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