Airline Waivers and Woes for Tropical Depression Harvey

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Oh hurricane season, how I love you. Let me count the ways… Crickets, crickets. Yeah, hurricane season isn’t lovely at all. It can muck up travel plans, and if you live on or near the coast it can be a royal pain in the rear at home, too. Now it looks like this zombie-storm named Harvey is intent on doing both to us. Remember that much anticipated adults trip to San Diego we were planning for this weekend…sigh. 

 

Enough about our little violins and sob stories (for now), but it looks like beginning on Friday much of the Texas coast is at the very least going to get nailed with a ton of rain. I’ve heard 8 inches, I’ve heard 18 inches, and either in a short period of time is plenty to cause flooding, street closures, cancelled plans, and general misery.

Since the forecasts are generally holding steady with this outlook, the airlines have started issuing their weather waivers in advance of the weekend. Not all of the airlines have one out yet, but I suspect that will change in the next 12 hours or less if everything tracks as it is now.

Harvey Airline Weather Waivers

The waivers allow for free changes to your flights if you are going from, to, or even through an impacted airport. Even if you were just connecting through Houston, you may want to hop online or call to re-route yourself through another part of the country this weekend.

United Airlines:

For flights scheduled to operate August 25 – 29, the change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before September 1, 2017, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed if you are traveling to/through/from the following cities:

  • Austin, TX (AUS)
  • Brownsville, TX (BRO)
  • College State, TX (CLL)
  • Corpus Christi, TX (CRP)
  • Harlingen, TX (HRL)
  • Houston, TX (IAH)
  • Lake Charles, LA (LCH)
  • Laredo, TX (LRD)
  • McAllen, TX (MFE)
  • San Antonio, TX (SAT)

Delta:

You may make a one-time change to your ticket without a fee if you are scheduled to travel to, from, or through the following destination(s) on Delta, Delta Connection, or Delta-coded flights on August 25 – 28, 2017.

When rescheduled travel occurs beyond August 29, 2017, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue. If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.

  • Austin, TX (AUS)
  • Houston, TX – Hobby (HOU)
  • Houston, TX – Intercontinental (IAH)
  • San Antonio, TX (SAT)

American Airlines

The change fee may be waived if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight, bought your ticket by August 23, 2017, are scheduled to travel August 25 – 27, 2017, can travel August 23 – 30, 2017, don’t change your origin or destination city, and rebook in the same cabin or pay the fare difference. The eligible waiver cities include:

  • 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)
  • San Antonio, Texas (SAT)

Frontier Airlines

Customers who are ticketed to travel between Thursday, August 24, 2017 and Sunday, August 27, 2017, who purchased tickets on or before Wednesday, August 23, 2017, may make one itinerary change – rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.Travel must be completed no later than Monday, September 18, 2017. Origin and destination cities may be changed.

  • Austin Bergstrom International, TX (AUS)
  • San Antonio International, TX (SAT)
  • Houston Bush Intercontinental, TX (IAH)
  • New Orleans Louis B. Armstrong International, LA (MSY)

Customers whose flights are cancelled may request a refund through Frontier’s Online Refund Form.

Southwest

Based on the forecasted weather conditions for the cities listed below, our scheduled service on Friday, August 25, through Tuesday, August 29, may be disrupted (flights may be delayed, diverted, and/or cancelled).

Customers who are holding reservations to, from, or through the cities listed above on Friday, August 25, through Tuesday, August 29, and want to alter their travel plans, may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

Customers who purchased their itinerary via Southwest.com or our mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device.

Customers who did not purchase a ticket via Southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.

Customers in the U.S. scheduled to travel internationally must call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative for assistance with rebooking.

  • Austin (AUS)
  • Corpus Christi (CRP)
  • Houston (HOU)
  • Harlingen (HRL)
  • San Antonio (SAT)

JetBlue

Due to inclement weather forecasted to impact the Gulf Coast Region, change/cancel fees and fare differences will be waived for customers traveling Friday, August 25, 2017 through Sunday August 27, 2017 to/from the following cities:

  •  Austin, TX (AUS)
  • Houston, TX (HOU)
  • New Orleans, LA (MSY)

All customers traveling to/from the airports listed above are encouraged to check the status of their flight online prior to leaving for the airport. Customers with web-enabled mobile devices may check the status of their flight at mobile.jetblue.com.

Customers may rebook their flights for travel August 27, 2017 through Wednesday, August 30, 2017 online in the ‘Manage Flights’ section of jetblue.com or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight. Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment. Original travel must have been booked on or before Wednesday, August 23, 2017.

Spirit

Those traveling to, from, or through Houston (IAH) on August 25-29, 2017 are eligible for a waiver of fare difference and change fee for travel through August 30, 2017. After this date the modification charge is waived, but a fare difference may apply.

Customers can make changes to their reservations affected by this event by going to the Manage Travel page, or by calling the Spirit Reservations Center at 801-401-2222 to make their flight changes. To make changes to Spirit Vacation packages contact Spirit Vacations at 954-698-0125.

Alaska Airlines

Change fees and the difference in the price of the ticket will be waived if the new travel is booked to or from the affected cities in the same cabin and completed on or before September 3, 2017 for travel scheduled August 25 – 27, 2017. You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded on or before August 28, 2017.

Austin (AUS)
San Antonio (SAT)
Houston (IAH)

I’ll add to this list as other airlines join the weather waiver party, but If you want to read more about my own Harvey travel sob story, keep going…

Harvey Soaking Our Travel Plans

I was supposed to fly out Friday evening from Houston to San Diego to hang out with Josh for the weekend as he is already in California working this week. My in-laws will be here, so they were going to keep the girls while we enjoyed some time away. However, there seems to be a reasonably likelihood that flights on Friday evening will be impacted out of Houston, so I may not get out very smoothly, if at all.

I could just leave in advance of the storm, but with the current potentially insane rainfall predictions for our area I don’t really feel comfortable leaving the girls’ grandparents to not only care for them and the dog for days on end when it is pouring outside, but our house is prone to flooding during intense rains. Sometimes we get to play “piglet” from the rainy Winnie the Pooh episode and battle water away from the house with brooms…and we haven’t always won.

There are weather waivers out for our travel dates, but technically it only allows for free changes from the same city pairs if you travel by August 30th. We can’t just change our dates and head back out to San Diego by August 30th thanks to work obligations and the lack of grandparent coverage after this weekend, so our situation will be more complicated than what the waiver covers.

If we decide to can the whole thing, we also need to get Josh home from California before this all starts which means booking a last minute ticket home from LAX. Oh, and I’m sure that ticket we booked him from Los Angeles to San Diego is just toast since those cities aren’t covered by any of this. All in all it is not the end of the world, but it is certainly a far cry from the sleeping in and biking on the boardwalk that I thought was awaiting us this weekend.

If Harvey putting a cramp in your weekend travel plans?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. My elderly parents were flying home Tuesday to Boston from eclipse watching in St. Louis, connecting in Newark. I haven’t yet spoken with them, but my brother said our parents got stuck in Newark Tuesday due to thundershowers canceling their EWR-BOS flight. The other flights were full due to accommodating all the cancelled travelers. I think they eventually boarded a slow train to Boston/South Station (not even an Acela) courtesy of United.

    I assume this tropical depression is a totally different weather event, or was the Newark thunderstorm a pre-cursor?

    • I think it must be a separate event, though if the airline isn’t covering their expenses during their unexpected delay, the credit card they bought the original ticket with might.

  2. I feel your pain. I’m supposed to work a flight tomorrow out of IAH and leave the family for the weekend. I’m worried I’ll get stuck down-line, and I probably won’t be able to drive home Sunday if the streets are flooded! I hate leaving my husband to fend for himself with the kids and a most-likely flooded house.
    We’ve lived through tropical storm Allison and hurricane Ike. These storms aren’t playing! We were without electricity for 16 days with Ike!
    I’d probably have the hubby fly home ASAP.. sorry about your trip!!

    • Yeah, we are probably having him return tomorrow – can’t pull off before then due to work commitments. I’m sorry you will be away! I bet your hubby has it covered though..hopefully! Also hopefully that this storm will “just” bring rain and not wind damage that knocks out power. Oh not looking forward to this!

  3. We are supposed to fly out on Southwest on Friday afternoon from HOU. I assume Southwest will allow free cancellations (meaning full refund?)

    • Southwest seems to be on the slow side of issuing a weather waiver. When they do I doubt it will permit a full refund unless your specific flight ends up cancelled, but you can get a credit to use on a future flight or likely change flights without a fee when they do issue a weather waiver. IF you paid with points you can always refund those back into your account.

  4. I’m supposed to fly home to Washington State from IAH on Saturday through Spirit Airlines… with a toddler. They haven’t issued anything and when I called their customer service number, they said everything was on time/not cancelled. I’ll keep checking here and their website, but dear lord, I hope they cancel before I am at the airport and expect me to hang out waiting for the next one… with a toddler. WITH A TODDLER. I have nightmares that start out like that.

  5. Thank you for these posts today! I was ticketed to fly out of Houston on Friday (connecting in Atlanta) to Asia. I was positioning to Houston for the cheap fare. I had no idea about the weather issue until I saw your post, and Delta promptly rerouted me (even before they officially had an advisory). Thanks again!

  6. Im supposed to fly IN to IAH with spirit Saturday afternoon, and fly back home to Florida sunday afternoon (yes a small quick trip) – my biggest fear is i get to fly IN to Texas, But come Sunday, they wont let me come home 🙁 any suggestions? Think that would happen? I live through major hurricanes, a tropical storm isnt much to me, i just went to work during one a couple weeks back.

    • Yeah the storm shouldn’t be terrible in Houston, it is just a matter of if it is indeed slow moving and dumps way more rain than the city can handle and people can’t safely get around. Forecast for Houston seems better today than it did yesterday, but who knows. I honestly don’t know enough to give good advice on your situation. I do know that trusting Spirit with a one day turn around during weather will be iffy, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t get lucky.

  7. Me and my wife is supposed to have a weekend getaway in Mexico(it’s her birthday on the 26th!) and will be leaving Friday morning, Southwest Airlines…. You got any info on Southwest? Harvey is ruining our mini honeymoon!

    • Southwest does now have a waiver up if you want to change plans, but models right now seem to indicate Friday morning in Houston shouldn’t be terrible.

  8. I was supposed to leave Friday from BWI to CRP and I connect in IAH. I’m still not sure if my flights are going to be delayed or cancelled and I don’t want to be stuck at the airport, but I also don’t know if I should just postpone my flight home until Sunday or not.

    • Right now it seems that Friday in Houston shouldn’t be too terrible, but forecast for CRP is another story. I would probably avoid that situation if at all possible.

  9. We’re supposed to leave out Sunday afternoon for our Eurotrip and Air France hasn’t been too helpful. I will be devastated if we can’t go.

  10. We are suppose to fly into IAH Friday arriving at 8:30pm on Spirit from FLL, and leave Houston to drive my daughter’s car back to Florida Saturday morning….what do you think Spirit will do?

  11. We are supposed to be flying into Austin Friday morning and flying home to Chicago Sunday morning but I am really worried about getting home Sunday…what are the chances that they would cancel flights on Sunday in Austin?

    • Mae, to be honest I haven’t been following Austin as closely as Houston. This thing is getting much worse than they thought though, so it wouldn’t shock me if Sunday was iffy in Austin.

  12. My daughter is supposed to fly out of Hobby via Southwest Airlines on Sunday August 27– right now she is in LIMBO bc we don’t know if that flight will actually take place…

    • Yeah it is hard to say what Houston will look like on Sunday. If she can go today or move it to later next week that would be the safest bet, but otherwise crossing fingers is pretty much all you can do.

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