US airlines offer passengers to change travel plans as Hurricane Florence barrels

 Tuesday, September 11, 2018 


US airlines U.S. airline companies are allowing passengers to change their travel plans as Hurricane Florence spins closer to the U.S. East Coast.



Hurricane Florence, currently a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, could hit the southeastern U.S. or mid-Atlantic region by the end of the week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.



The constant high winds of at least 36 knots, about 41 miles per hour, can prevent Federal Aviation Administration staff from servicing radars and radio towers, so some systems could be shut down preemptively, the agency said.



American Airlines said that the travellers whose plans could be affected by the storm can change their travel dates without paying change fees, which can cost $200 plus a difference in fare, if they can travel between Sept. 10 and Sept. 19.



The waivers for Hurricane Florence cover 23 airports, including Charlotte Douglas Airport, American’s second-largest hub, where it has about 670 flights a day. So far, American Airlines flights have not been canceled due to the storm, the carrier said.



Delta Air Lines said it will cap airfares in several airports that could be affected by the storm and that it won’t charge change fees for travelers booked to and from those destinations. United Airlines said it will waive date-change fees as well as fare differences for travelers booked to or from 16 area airports if they can fly between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16.



Southwest Airlines said travellers booked into six cities in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia can rebook their flights within 14 days of their original dates with no additional cost. Southwest Airlines does not charge a fee to change travel dates but it usually will charge passengers the difference in fare.



While the storm is not expected to make landfall until the end of the week, airlines regularly issue waivers early to avoid travelers getting stuck at the airport. During big storms, they try to cancel flights ahead of time so crews are not out of place when operations resume. They will also routinely keep aircraft away from affected airports.



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