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Airlines Waive Fees for Hurricane-Related Flight Changes

Check carrier but rebook soon to avoid paying fare differences 

Businessman working in the airport. Rain drops are on the window glass.

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En español | Travelers in and out of the mid-Atlantic region who are facing Hurricane Florence's wrath can rebook air travel at no additional cost, most major carriers announced as of Tuesday. 

Change fees will be waived for eligible passengers in anticipation of Hurricane Florence, predicted to make landfall as a Category 4 storm later this week and disrupt travel for some time.

In most cases, change fees — which can often total more than $100, depending on airline — for flights to and from airports in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia (and, in the case of Southwest Airlines, as far north as Baltimore and Washington, D.C.) have been waived through Sept. 20. Rebooking after that may mean that travelers will have to pay a fare difference, however, so it pays to reschedule flights as soon as possible. Exact policies and airports differ by carrier, but most of the major airlines already have outlined what they'll do for passengers, with dates listed below.  

American Airlines

  • Travel dates covered: Sept. 10–16
  • Rebook by: Sept. 19

Delta Air Lines

  • Travel dates covered: Sept. 13–16
  • Rebook by: Sept. 20 to avoid paying a fare difference 


  • Travel dates covered: Sept. 13–15
  • Rebook by: Sept. 20 to avoid paying a fare difference 

Southwest Airlines

  • Travel dates covered: Sept. 10–17
  • Rebook by: within 14 days of original flight date

Spirit Airlines

  • Travel dates covered: Sept. 12–16
  • Rebook by: Sept. 20 to avoid paying a fare difference 

United Airlines

  • Travel dates covered: Sept. 10–16
  • Rebook by: Sept. 20 to avoid paying a fare difference 

If you purchased travel insurance before the hurricane was named Sept. 1, you can also look to your policy for help recouping nonrefundable expenses, including hotel reservations and car rentals. If you’re currently in the middle of a vacation in an affected area, insurance also may help cover the cost of a return ticket that differs from the one you originally booked.

Many policies offer 24/7 concierge services to help you rebook or reroute your itinerary as necessary. “Mandatory evacuation is a fairly standard covered reason in most travel insurance plans,” explains Stan Sandberg, cofounder of Travelers whose plans are affected by evacuation orders in North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia should look for their policy’s “trip cancellation” or “trip interruption” benefit for details.   

What about cancellations? It’s still too early to know precisely which flights may be canceled, but FlightAware spokesperson Sara Orsi says to watch for cancellation announcements starting Wednesday. Based on the storm’s current projected path, Orsi says that Charlotte Douglas International Airport, an American Airlines hub, is likely to be affected.

If flights are canceled, travelers typically have an option to rebook (fees are typically waived — but check your airline’s contract of carriage or agreement between you and your carrier for details) or to accept a full or partial refund. But if you’re stuck at the airport, the airline isn’t obligated to compensate you for things like lodging or meal vouchers, because weather events are considered outside of the airline’s control.  

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