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Who's on the hook when Mother Nature ices reservations?

Friday - 2/14/2014, 4:31pm  ET

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WASHINGTON - Mother Nature may put many Valentine's Day plans on ice this year.

And, if she did, who's on the hook for that canceled hotel room, dinner reservation or flight?

Martha Meade, AAA Mid-Atlantic manger of public and government affairs, says airlines aren't required to give refunds for non-refundable tickets.

But, Meade adds, "The airlines oftentimes will waive change fees in situations like this."

It's also important to know your rights. Check with the airline to find out its cancellation policy for the specific ticket you bought.

"It's all about talking to the airline about how they may be able to accommodate you," says Meade.

Because of the bad weather the airline may work with passengers -- or at least try. Meade still cautions airlines are working with lots of people after thousands of canceled flights. But it's still important to ask about your options.

When it comes canceling hotel reservations, Meade says, "Hotels have a variety of cancellation policies and penalties."

The higher the demand, the more strict the cancellation policy.

"If it's a very hot destination for a Valentine's Day package, they may have more strict cancellation fees."

To avoid penalties, know what the cancellation policies are.

For example, do they require cancellations before 6 p.m. the day of arrival or 24, 48, 72 hours in advance?

When it comes to reservations at a restauraunt on Valentine's Day, it all depends on the restaurant.

Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown doesn't charge if guests cancel, says Anton Innerst, restaurant manger.

"Things happen, so we accommodate our guests because we've been here for about 30 years. And we really value our guests that come over and over again."

But in Falls Church, 2941 Restaurant charges $25 if cancellations don't come 48 hours in advance.

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