Hurricane Maria was impacting flights and airport activity in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and rest of the Caribbean Wednesday as it tore through the area as a Category 4 storm.
Airlines added flights and capped fares Tuesday as residents rushed to get out of Puerto Rico ahead of the deadly storm, which made landfall early Wednesday.
American Airlines reported that 55 flights were canceled Wednesday as a result of Maria. The airline issued a travel alert that allows customers with flights to certain airports to re-book without change fees.
AA also capped one-way nonstop fares at $99 for main cabin and $199 for premium cabins (connecting fares may be higher) through Sept. 24 from 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)
Delta added two extra flights to and from San Juan to Atlanta Tuesday to help customers leave ahead of the hurricane. The airline has also capped main cabin, one-way nonstop fares at $199 for flights departing the following airports through Sept. 21: San Juan, PR; Punta Cana, DO; Santiago, DO; and Santo Domingo, DO.
A travel waiver has also been issued for Delta 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.
Southwest Airlines said scheduled service on Monday, September 18, through Tuesday, September 26, may be disrupted in San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), and Punta Cana (PUJ) due to Maria.
Southwest said customers who are holding reservations on Monday, September 18, through Tuesday, September 26, and want to alter their travel plans may re-book in the 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.
United Airlines also issued a travel waiver to allow customers to change their flights without paying a fee. The waiver was granted for September 18, to September 30, and includes the following airports: Aguadilla, PR, US (BQN), Providenciales, TC (PLS), Puerto Plata, DO (POP), Punta Cana, DO (PUJ),San Juan, PR, US (SJU), Santiago, DO (STI), Santo Domingo, DO (SDQ).
The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing between September 17, 2017 and October 7, 2017, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed, United said. For wholly rescheduled travel departing after October 7, 2017, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.
Copa Airlines, which serves much of Latin America, said the majority of operations to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on Wednesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 21 have been cancelled due to Maria. Copa is making the necessary arrangements to ensure passengers whose itineraries are affected by this natural disaster arrive at their final destinations as soon as possible.
Copa passengers whose tickets were issued through September 18, 2017, and were scheduled to travel between September 19 and 26, can make changes to their itineraries to travel through October 16, 2017 without incurring penalties or additional costs. Passengers will have until September 25 to make changes to their flight itineraries and the changes will be subject to the ability of flights. In the case of flights canceled due to the hurricane, passengers may also request, if they wish, a full reimbursement of the cost of their ticket.