Here’s Which Airlines Are Maintaining Fares, Adding Flights For Travelers Leaving Due To Hurricane Maria

mag813 September 20, 2017 0
Here’s Which Airlines Are Maintaining Fares, Adding Flights For Travelers Leaving Due To Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria continues to gain momentum as it churns through the Caribbean, strengthening to a Category 5 storm after making landfall on the island of Dominica on Monday. Forecasters and safety officials are advising everyone in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to get to safety, and so some airlines are capping fares for travelers trying to get out of the storm’s path.

On Monday, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida sent letters to 10 U.S. airlines asking them to limit prices on airfare for anyone fleeing Hurricane Maria, citing skyrocketing prices many travelers faced ahead of Hurricane Irma, which led some airlines to cap fares for evacuees as a result.

“As you know, Hurricane Maria is a major hurricane and is threatening Puerto Rico and the Caribbean now and may be a threat to the U.S. coast by next week,” Nelson wrote.

“Individuals and families should not be forced to delay or cancel their evacuation efforts because of confusion over the cost of airfare,” he added in his letter to executives at United, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Alaska, Hawaiian, Frontier, and Allegiant.

In response, some airlines have announced their plans for capping airfare, as well as adding additional flights, and offering travel waivers for those who need to change their travel.

United

United says it has capped fares at $384 plus tax for nonstop flights in economy class.

United also says it’s adding more seats on departures out of Puerto Rico beginning with an early morning departure today from Aguadilla (BQN) to Newark.

Additional seats have also been added on the airline’s three scheduled departures out of San Juan (SJU) on Sept. 19. United also added an extra flight departing San Juan at 3:30 p.m., bringing the total number of seats leaving the island today to 500.

“We will suspend operations at SJU and BQN on Wednesday with a tentative plan to resume operations on Thursday pending infrastructure assessments,” the airline says. “Our Emergency Response teams are engaged to coordinate any needs. As the storm tracks northwest, we will also develop plans for Punta Cana/PUJ and Santo Domingo/SDQ for Thursday operations.”

United is also waiving change fees and any difference in fare for flights departing through Sept. 30.

American

American says it will also cap nonstop fares at $99 one-way for Main Cabin, and $199 for premium cabins (though connecting fares may be higher) through Sept. 24 in the following markets:

• Antigua, Antigua (ANU)
• Cap Haitien, Haiti (CAP)
• Port Au Prince, Haiti (PAP)
• Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (PLS)
• Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP)
• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ)
• San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
• Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)
• Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ)
• St. Croix Island, U.S. Virgin Islands (STX)
• St. Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKB)
• St. Thomas Island, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT)

“Our team of meteorologists continues to coordinate closely with the National Weather Service; we are also monitoring developing storms offshore,” American notes.

Check here for more information on American’s Hurricane Maria-related travel waivers.

Delta

Delta is capping main cabin, one-way nonstop fares at $199 for flights departing the following airports through Sept. 21:

• San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ)
• Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)
• Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ)

The airline says it’s also added two extra flights to and from San Juan to Atlanta to help customers leave ahead of the hurricane, and is temporarily waiving fees for baggage and pets in cabin for customers traveling to and from San Juan and several other airports.

A travel waiver has also been issued for passengers flying out of San Juan from Sept. 19-26. The waiver, which allows customers to change plans without incurring a fee, also covers customers from St. Maarten, Saint Thomas, and Turks and Caicos with tickets issued from Sept. 5 to Dec. 31.

For more information, check out Delta’s travel advisory here.

JetBlue

For those looking to evacuate areas in the hurricane’s path, JetBlue is offering any remaining seats on its flights to and from the below destinations for travel through Sept. 25 at reduced fares:

• San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
• Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (BQN)
• Ponce, Puerto Rico (PSE)
• St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (STX)
• Antigua, Antigua (ANU)

JetBlue also says it has added five additional flights to its regular schedule from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and New York JFK on Sept. 19 “in order to help customers and crewmembers evacuate ahead of Hurricane Maria.”

The airline is also waiving waiving cancellation fees, change fees, and differences in air fare customers traveling today through Thursday, Sept. 21.

Southwest Airlines

A spokeswoman for Southwest tells Consumerist that the airline has removed advance purchase requirements to allow customers to have access to fares that were lower than what they would normally have had access to.

The airline has also added five extra flights out of San Juan today, one additional flight out of Punta Cana, and “had all inventory set at the lowest fare.” Southwest says it has “also matched all competitor pricing actions if lower than ours.”

Travelers can check the Southwest site for travel advisories and flexible accommodations.

Other airlines

As for the rest of the airlines, we’ve reached out to each to ask if they’ll be capping fares in regions affected by Hurricane Maria, and will update this post as we receive new information. As always, you should check with your airline before you head to the airport to confirm your scheduled flight.

In the meantime, you can check out travel advisories for the carriers below for more information on waivers and change fees related to Hurricane Maria (not all airlines have issued alerts or advisories, depending on which markets they serve):

• Frontier Airlines
• Spirit Airlines

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