Tropical Storm Harvey could leave travelers stranded in airports


As Tropical Storm Harvey threatens South Texas, airliners are preparing for flight delays and cancellations for travelers across the country.

American, Southwest, Frontier, Delta and United are among the major carriers that are waiving hefty change fees because of the incoming storm, Rare.us reported. Travelers are being told to contact their airline to rebook flights. Local expert Jay Ratliff advised that travelers should check to see if their flight is on time before they leave for the airport.

“It’s going to be a difficult situation for passengers,” he said. “Hundreds and thousands of people could be stranded in airports.”

Because the tropical storm is “an act of God,” airlines won’t reschedule flights for free on other airlines, pay for hotels or give food vouchers. While Southern Texas will be impacted first, other airports will likely be impacted as the storm moves inward, he said.

The airlines have issued a weather waivers, where passengers can change their dates of travel to a later time to avoid weather-related travel issues.

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If a connecting flight goes through an impacted area, it could be cancelled or delayed. At the Dayton International Airport and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on Friday, there were very few departing or arriving flights that were delayed or cancelled.

There could be less disruption in flight patterns because South Texas isn’t as popular of a travel destination as some other Southern states. Galveston, Texas is a popular port location for cruise ships, but not to the extent of Florida locations.

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“Most people in this area use port locations in Florida,” said Valerie Jeffers, co-owner of Daily Departures Travel in Dayton. “The Texas port only has two or three cruises that out a week. In Florida, you’ll see ports with dozens of cruises a week.”

Jeffers said Austin and San Antonio are popular locations for Ohioans to travel to, but added this time of year they see very little trips from people in the Miami Valley. Travelers are seeing better warnings from cruise and airline companies about possible delays due to weather conditions, Jeffers said.

The Dayton travel agent said the fiascos involving airlines this year pulling passengers off planes due to overcrowding has made the companies more aware of customer service.

“It’s made it a little easier for passengers,” Jeffers said.

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