Hurricanes havoc for airports and air travelers

(Photo courtesy Keene Public Library, via Flickr)

Hurricane Irma, and the two hurricanes just behind it, continue to wreak havoc for airports, air travelers and airlines in the Caribbean and – momentarily – in the southeastern United States.

As thousands of flights to and from Florida airports and others in the hurricane’s projected path are being cancelled, some airlines are rushing to add extra flights to get passengers out of Florida and the Caribbean. Many airlines are also bringing in extra supplies for recovery efforts.

Miami International Airport released a statement reminding travelers that the airport is not a designated storm shelter and that the airport’s parking garage is already at capacity.

American Airlines has issued a statement saying it is planning to wind down its operations at Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers and West Palm Beach airports on Friday afternoon, with all operations canceled through the weekend. American Airlines’ operations at Orlando International Airport were scheduled to end by 2 p.m. Saturday, with all of its Sunday flights canceled; Orlando International Airport is planning to close for all flights at 5 pm.

In advance of the shutdowns, American added 16 extra flights out of Miami, including 12 from to Dallas/Fort Worth, one to Philadelphia, and three to New York.

Other airports are adding some extra flights as well.

Regarding fares, and the rumors of price gouging, American said it has capped fares at $99 each way for Main Cabin, and $199 for the premium cabin, on direct, single leg flights to/from cities covered under the Travel Alert, which is now in place for more than 40 airports. The carrier said the fares will apply for flights out of the affected area through Sept. 17, and returning to the affected area from Sept. 10-17.

Here are links to domestic airline travel alerts. Many airlines have considerably expanded the dates and the airports included by their advisories and are adjusting them as the storms progress.

Alaska Airlines

American Airlines. More than 40 airports currently covered by the alert.

Delta Air Lines

Frontier Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines


Southwest Airlines

Spirit Airlines

United Airlines

Virgin America

Airline travel Alerts for Hurricane Irma


Move over, Harvey.

Hurricane Irma has just hit Category 5 status and is headed for the Caribbean and, most likely, Florida.

Here are links to posted travel alerts from airlines and their current policies on canceling flights and waiving change fees. Stay safe out there. And if you do have travel planned to the region, keep checking the airline webistes as the travel waivers are likely to expand and be extended as the storm moves along.

American Airlines Travel alert currently covers travel to/from or through 8 airports, including, San Juan, for travel scheduled September 5-8.

Delta Air Lines – Travel alert currently covers travel to/from or through San Juan, PR (SJU), St. Croix, VI (STX), St. Maarten, SX (SXM) and St. Thomas, VI (STT) for travel scheduled September 5-6.

Frontier Airlines has a travel for   San Juan, PR and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) for travel scheduled through September 8

JetBlue Travel alert for affecting 8 airports, including San Juan, PR is in effect for travel scheduled through September 6.

Spirit Airlines Travel alert currently affecting 6 airport for travel booked through September 8.

Southwest Airlines has issued a travel advisory for flights booked through Sept 8 to/from San Juan, PR and Punta Canta (PUJ)

United Airlines has a travel alert posted for travel through Sept 7 to San Juan, PR and Aguadilla, PR (BQN).


Airports closed; more flights nixed, thanks to Tropical Storm Harvey

Tropical Storm Harvey – Rainfall chart – courtesy NOAA

Check the websites of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and William P. Hobby (HOU) Airports and you’ll see this notice, posted at noon local time on Sunday.

UPDATED 8/27/2017 at Noon
Commercial operations have ceased at both IAH and HOU until further notice due to severe weather. No inbound or outbound flights from either airport at this time. For flight details, rescheduling and waivers, please contact your air carrier.

The FAA has posted notices as to when these and other airports in the region, including Corpus Christie International Airport (CRP), are expected to reopen, but it’s a fair bet those deadlines will be extended as rain and flooding associated with, now, Tropical Storm Harvey, batters the region.

FlightAware  (a service that track flights), has tallied thousands of canceled flights into and out of the affected areas and with these airports closed for at least a day and, in some cases, more, it’s clear no one is going to be flying through the region on anything  like a normal schedule anytime soon. Many flights in and out of Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans and other airports have been affected too.

Most airlines have posted revised dates for when they will be waiving change fees and offering full refunds for cancellations.

Here are some links updated on Sunday evening that may be helpful if you have a flight.

American Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Delta Air Lines

Frontier Airlines


Spirit Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

Virgin America

Of course, international airlines have been cancelling flights to the region as well, so be sure to check with your airline if you have an upcoming flight.

If you’d like to donate some cash to help out with what are going to be expensive and long-lasting storm recovery efforts, both American Airlines and United Airlines (so far) are offering bonus miles for cash donations.


Donate (and earn miles) to help Hurricane Harvey victims

The devastation in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey is still being tallied, but it is clear many people lost their homes, their business, their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives.

Donating money to groups such as the Red Cross is a great way to help right now and American Airlines is encouraging you to do so by offering you some bonus miles when you do.

Through September 24, 2017, AAdvantage members can earn 10 miles for every dollar they donate to the Red Cross, with a minimum donation of $25.  Donate here.

United Airlines is also encouraging you to donate to hurricane relief efforts and has set aside 3 million bonus miles and $100,000 to match contributions from Mileage Plus members made to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Airlink, or Operation USA through this fundraising page.

Donate $50-$99 to earn 250 bonus miles; $100-$249 to earn 500 bonus miles and donate $250 or more to earn 1,000 bonus miles.




Airlines waive change fees for Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey is on its way to Texas and airlines have issued travel advisories with notices about waived changed fees, refunds and cancellation notices. Here are some of the posted notices. Be sure to check with your airline for updates as cancellations, especially, are bound to increase as the storm makes it way into the region and affects schedules across the system.

Airports may stay open if even all or most flights are cancelled.

Here’s some information on changes/refund policies as of Friday morning

Alaska Airlines:

For travel August 25 to 27 to or from Austin (AUS), San Antonio (SAT) and Houston (IAH), the airline will waive the change and refund fees and the difference in the price of the ticket if new travel is booked and completed on or before September 3, 2017. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded by Aug. 28.

American Airlines  

The advisory affects travel to or from Austin, Texas (AUS), Beaumont / Port Arthur, Texas (BPT), Brownsville, Texas (BRO), College Station, Texas (CLL), Corpus Christi, Texas (CRP), Houston, Texas, (HOU) Houston, Texas (IAH), Lake Charles, Louisiana (LCH), McAllen / Mission, Texas (MFE), and San Antonio, Texas (SAT)  August 25 t0 27.  New travel is allowed through August 30, 2017.

Delta Air Lines 

Delta Air Lines’ travel advisory affects travel to or from Austin, TX (AUS), Houston, TX – Hobby (HOU), Houston, TX – Intercontinental (IAH) and San Antonio, TX (SAT) for flights scheduled August 26-27. Rebooked travel must begin and be rebooked no later than August 29.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines’ advisory covers travel to or from Austin (AUS), San Antonio (SAT), Houstin (IAH) and New Orleans (MSY) through August 27. New travel must take place by September 18; origin and destination cities may be changed.  More detail here.


JetBlue is waiving change and cancellation fees and fare differences for customers traveling Friday August, 25 through Saturday, August 26, 2017  to or from Austin, TX (AUS), Houston, TX (HOU) and New Orleans, LA (MSY).

Southwest Airline

Cities covered by the Southwest Airlines travel advisory include Austin (AUS)Corpus Christi (CRP), Houston (HOU), Harlingen (HRL), and San Antonio (SAT) for travel scheduled August 24 through 28. Customers may rebook or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel) without paying any additional charge.

United Airlines

United Airlines’ travel advisory covers travel to or from Austin, TX (AUS), Brownsville, TX (BRO),College Station, TX (CLL), Corpus Christi, TX (CRP), Harlingen, TX (HRL),Houston, TX (IAH),McAllen, TX (MFE) and San Antonio, TX (SAT). Change and cancellation fee waivers are offered for travel scheduled August 25 to 27.  New travel must take place on or before August 30, 2017.