(September 13, 2008) – Hurricane Ike has caused damage in southeast Texas, western Louisiana and Chicago. There are reports of flooding, washed out roads, grounded flights and nearly 3 million are without power in southeast Texas. Today, President Bush declared a major disaster in Texas. The remnants of Ike are expected to continue drenching the Chicago region, where one man drowned in a suburban pond. According to the National Weather Service, Chicago has a 60 percent chance of an additional seven inches of rain coming their way.
In response to these severe conditions, the following airlines have issued updates.
Continental Airlines has suspended operations at its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) through Sunday, September 14, due to the condition of airport facilities and related infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Continental Express and Continental Connection flights are also suspended through Sunday.
The airline is working closely with the Houston Airport System, as well as with city and county officials to reactivate the airport.
Continental currently plans to begin flights at the hub Monday morning, September 15. Employees from other domestic locations are positioned to fly into Houston to assist their co-workers in restarting operations at IAH.
Travelers with itineraries to, from or through the Houston hub may postpone or reroute their trip without penalty to avoid possible inconvenience.
Customers booked on flights in the affected region are permitted a one-time
date or time change to their itinerary without penalty for rescheduled travel. If a flight has been canceled, a refund in the original form of payment may be requested. Complete details are available at www.continental.com .
Southwest Airlines resumed operations at Dallas Love Field at 5:00 p.m. CT today, except to those cities still impacted by the storm. Dallas customers should still expect flight delays for the rest of Saturday. Operations from Corpus Christi International Airport and Valley International Airport will be very limited on Sunday, mostly concentrated on getting people home who had evacuated those areas in advance of the storm. There will be no service to and from Houston Hobby Airport on Sunday due to the impact of the storm on the airport, the surrounding area, and the city’s focus on reconnecting Houston’s vast infrastructure. The airline’s ultimate plans to resume service in Houston will depend upon the status of airport security personnel and facilities, as well as clear access to the airport and passenger services in the wake of this storm.
Southwest Airlines customers holding reservations for travel to and from Austin, Dallas Love Field, or San Antonio from Noon Central Time on Wednesday, September 10 through the close of business Monday, September 15 may change their travel plans and rebook in their 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. Southwest has extended the dates for Customers holding reservations to or from Corpus Christi, Harlingen, or Houston Hobby through Wednesday, September 17. Due to the extended path of the storm, Little Rock had more recently been added to the list, for reservations from Noon CT September 13 through the end of the day.
Also, customers holding reservations for a flight that is cancelled to and from Corpus Christi, Dallas Love, Harlingen, or Houston Hobby may request a refund for any unused ticket/travel itinerary.
Southwest encourages travelers to contact Southwest Reservations at (800) 435-9792 or look for updated travel advisories at http://www.southwest.com/ before checking in online for a flight or proceeding to the airport. Customers can also copy and paste the following link into a web browser for direct access to Southwest’s travel advisory page: http://www.southwest.com/content/travel_center/travel_advisory_0040.html?ref= wthr. (Due to the length of this URL, please copy and paste it into your browser.)
For the safety and comfort of our customers during the Chicago storms and as a result of the flooding conditions in and around O’Hare airport, United is proactively canceling some flights and is automatically rebooking customers on new flights. For customers traveling to or from Chicago O’Hare, United is offering the following advice:
United encourages customers to take advantage of its travel waiver and to consider changing their travel plans, as certain change fees have been waived for them. United advises customers to log on to united.com to make changes to their itineraries or to call United reservations at 1-800-UNITED-1 or a travel agency. All changes must be made by midnight of the customer’s original travel date. Rescheduled travel may be subject to higher fares if it does not meet original rule and booking-code restrictions or is a new itinerary.
The revised ticketing policies apply to all tickets purchased September 13, 2008 or earlier, for travel between September 13-14, to, from, and through Chicago, O’Hare on any United(R), United Express(R) or United code-share flight. Origin and destination cities must remain the same, and rescheduled travel must be completed within 7 days of original travel date.
Customers with already canceled flights are eligible to apply for a full refund.
Flights may be delayed or canceled as a result of Chicago flooding. Customers can minimize possible inconvenience by checking the status of their flights at united.com or calling 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) for automated, up-to-the-minute flight arrival and departure information before leaving for the airport. To receive United’s automatic updates via mobile phone or e-mail, customers may register for United EasyUpdate complimentary service at united.com. United will continue to monitor the situation and adjust ticketing policies on www.united.com .