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Airlines Waive Several Fees as Hurricane Hillary Heads for California

Airlines Waive Several Fees as Hurricane Hillary Heads for California


As Hurricane Hillary barrels towards Southern California, countless airlines are delaying and canceling flights.


Photo: Sam B | AeroXplorer

The hurricane is set to make landfall on United States territory on Sunday, August 20 at around 16:30 PDT, by which point the storm will have been already weakened to a "tropical depression".  Despite this, the storm will still have the capability to cause substantial flooding and high winds.


In the storm's path are some of Southern California's largest airports, in particular, San Diego (SAN). "...Passengers with flights into or out of airports in the region that's bracing [Southern California] to be soaked by the storm should check with their airlines about potential flight delays or cancellations..." states Jonathan Heller, spokesman for San Diego International Airport.




While some airlines are continuing to operate flights out of San Diego, most of the time with hefty delays, other carriers such as Southwest Airlines have canceled all flights out of the Southern Californian airport, sighting danger from the tropical depression.


A spokeswoman for another airport in the path of the storm, Long Beach (LGB), stated to the Los Angeles Times on Friday, August 18 that the airport and the airlines that serve it weren't anticipating to cancel any flights, but that the airport was preparing for the possibility of severe weather.


Airlines waive change fees and pile up delays but avoid canceling flights


Similar to the mid-August 2023 Maui wildfires, many airlines are waiving change fees for passengers in all classes and ticket fares flying into or out of cities affected by tropical depression Hillary. 


Photo: Mitchell Roetting | AeroXplorer


Listed below are most airlines and their change policies in regard to the storm.

American Airlines


No change fees for passengers scheduled to fly on August 20 and 21 to/from these cities in California: 


Bakersfield (BFL), Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Ontario (ONT), Palm Springs (PSP), San Diego (SAN), San Luis Obispo (SBP), Santa Ana (SNA), Santa Barbara (SBA). 


Newly rescheduled trips must be taken by August 25. 




Delta Air Lines


Passengers flying to, from, or through these cities on August 20 and 21 can rebook with no fare difference: 


Burbank (BUR), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Long Beach (LGB), Ontario (ONT), Palm Springs (PSP), San Diego (SAN) 


New trips must take place on or before August 24. 


Photo: Daniel Mena | AeroXplorer


Frontier Airlines


Free flight changes possible for passengers flying to, through, or from: 


San Diego (SAN), Santa Ana (SNA), Ontario (ONT)


Waiver applies between August 20 and 21.




JetBlue Airways


Passengers flying to/from these cities can change or cancel flights with no fees or fare difference: 


Burbank (BUR), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Ontario (ONT), San Diego (SAN)


Waiver applies between August 20 and 21, with travel having to take place on or before August 25. 




Southwest Airlines 


No additional charges to rebook flights to/from cities of: 


Burbank (BUR), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Long Beach (LGB), Ontario (ONT), Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA), Palm Springs (PSP), San Diego (SAN), Santa Barbara (SBA) 


Waiver applies between August 20 and 21. 


Spirit Airlines


Changeable reservations for travel set to occur on dates of August 20 and 21. Cities affected: 


Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA), San Diego (SAN)


United Airlines


Travel between August 20 and 21 to or from cities mentioned below can be changed with no fees or fare differences: 


Bakersfield (BFL), Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Ontario (ONT), Palm Springs (PSP), San Diego (SAN), Santa Barbara (SBA), San Luis Obispo (SBP), Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA) 


New travel must take place on or before August 28. 


Photo: Marc Alexander Ching | AeroXplorer


Allegiant Air 


The airline anticipates delays, diversions, and possible cancellations on Sunday, August 20, and Monday, August 21 for flights to and from Los Angeles (LAX), Orange County (SNA), and San Diego (SAN). 


Passengers can change travel set on these dates without fear of extra fees or cancellation charges. Unlike the airlines mentioned above, if passengers want to change their travel plans, they have to call Allegiant Air's customer service number at 702-473-2061. 




Your Rights


Much to customer satisfaction, many airlines are doing their best to avoid canceling flights, though long delays may occur. This is due to United States Department of Transportation (DOT) policies, which state that travelers are automatically entitled to a refund should their flight be canceled for any reason. 


When it comes to delays, airlines have more flexibility in avoiding returning passengers' money. Passengers who are experiencing a prolonged delay or have experienced a flight cancellation can see what rights they have as well as potential money they could be entitled to on the DOT's Airline Customer Service Dashboard.




"If you have flight plans, I would keep an eye on them...And if you're flexible, I would just wait. I would go...after Tuesday..." states UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain in regard to tropical depression Hillary. 

The storm is expected to completely dissipate somewhere over western Nevada between the morning and evening of August 21. 

Adam Schupak
Hey there! I'm Adam, a passionate avgeek absolutely obsessed with everything that flies. I'm a student glider pilot, but have the ultimate ambition of become a commercial airline pilot. Besides aviation, I'm also passionate about urban design, civil engineering, and trains.

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