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As Hurricane Harvey bears down on Texas, here’s what air travelers need to know

Airlines cancel flights as Hurricane Harvey approaches the Gulf Coast area on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at the Corpus Christi International Airport in Corpus Christi, Texas. (Gabe Hernandez / Associated Press)
Airlines cancel flights as Hurricane Harvey approaches the Gulf Coast area on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at the Corpus Christi International Airport in Corpus Christi, Texas. (Gabe Hernandez / Associated Press)

As Hurricane Harvey continued to intensify Friday, airlines have announced they will waive change fees for travelers whose plans may have included stops in and around cities in Texas. According to forecasters, Harvey is shaping up to be the strongest hurricane to hit the United States in 12 years. Already light rain has begun falling in the region.

Travelers hoping to fly in or out of the Houston airport should expect cancellations and delays, according to the Houston Airport System, which operates George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports, two of the busiest aviation hubs in the country.

By late Friday morning, airlines had canceled more than 100 flights at both airports, while dozens of other flights were delayed, the airport system reported.

Corpus Christi International Airport also said Friday morning that “all flights (are) canceled for the foreseeable future.”

Airlines, including Delta, JetBlue and American, said they would waive fees for travelers rebooking travel through cities in Texas and Louisiana. Two large U.S. carriers – American and Southwest – are based in Texas.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines said travelers who are traveling through, to and from the following cities in Texas: Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Brownsville, College Station, Corpus Christi, Houston, McAllen/Mission and San Antonio and Lake Charles in Louisiana, may be able to change their trips without an extra charge under the following conditions:

– Are traveling on an American Airlines flight

– Bought their ticket by Aug. 23

– Are scheduled to travel Aug. 25 – 27

– Can travel through Aug. 30

– Don’t change their origin or destination city

– Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference

United Airlines will waive change fees and any difference in fares for new United flights departing on or before Sept. 1 as long as travel is scheduled in the originally ticketed cabin and between the same cities as in the original itinerary. Original travel dates must be between Aug. 25 and Aug. 29 through, to or from the following airports: Austin, Brownsville, College State, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Houston, Laredo, McAllen and San Antonio in Texas and Lake Charles in Louisiana.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which does not charge change fees said that passengers flying to, through or from Austin, Corpus Christi, House, Harlingen and San Antonio may want to alter their travel plans since flights may be canceled, delayed or diverted.

Airlines are advising passengers to check with their carrier before leaving for the airports.

According to the flight tracking website, FlightAware.com, only a small number – 150 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled as of midday Friday, but those numbers could grow as the hurricane intensifies and the airlines opt to cancel or delay flights.


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