Hurricane Florence and tropical storms Isaac and Olivia prompt airlines to suspend ticket change fees

The eastern shore of Oahu, Hawaii, on Wednesday awaits Tropical Storm Olivia. The storm dropped heavy rain on Maui and Hawaii islands.
(Caleb Jones / Associated Press)

Travelers from coast to coast may face flight delays or cancellations because of storms churning in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. As a result, airlines are waiving ticket change fees, and in some cases the cost of baggage and carry-on pets, for travelers who may be waylaid by Hurricane Florence off the East Coast; Tropical Storm Isaac in the Caribbean; or Tropical Storm Olivia, which is already bringing heavy rain to Hawaii.

Fliers who may be traveling to or from the storm areas are advised to call their airline before heading to the airport in case scheduled flights have been interrupted.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence, the most dangerous of the weather fronts, is forecast to start lashing North and South Carolina late Thursday and expected to make landfall by Saturday. As of mid-day Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said the Category 3 storm could bring a “life-threatening storm surge and rainfall” across the Carolinas.

Airlines are waiving ticket change fees for a wide swath of the southeastern U.S. in anticipation of Florence. For example, American Airlines’ list includes 15 airports in North and South Carolina as well as others in Virginia and Savannah, Ga. It’s also waiving baggage fees and carry-on pet fees for those flying before Sunday to or from selected destinations. Other airlines are waiving change fees for destinations as far north as Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.


Check rebooking dates and affected destinations at Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and JetBlue. All are waiving ticket change fees.

Tropical Storm Olivia

The storm on Wednesday was already bringing heavy rains to the island of Maui. Warnings remain in effect for parts of Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines will let passengers who were schedule to fly to, from or within Hawaii to postpone travel until Sept. 21 without paying change fees. Fee-free changes for Alaska Airlines fliers are allowed until Sept. 20; United Airlines, until Thursday; American Airlines, until Sunday; and Delta Air Lines, until Saturday.

Tropical Storm Isaac

The National Hurricane Center as of midday Wednesday said Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to drop 2 to 4 inches of rain, and up to 8 inches in places, across Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe in the eastern Caribbean. Heavy rainfall of also is forecast across Puerto Rico and the southern U.S. Virgin Islands, areas that were hit hard by deadly hurricanes last year.

United is allowing passengers to change tickets without paying a fee if they are flying to or from Puerto Rico or Dominica. Delta allows changes for Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can change your ticket without penalty on American for more than a dozen destinations, including Dominica, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.



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