American Airlines Capping Fares, Adding Capacity Ahead of Hurricane Maria
Forming just Saturday morning, Hurricane Maria has rapidly developed from a cluster of storms into a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph top sustained winds. Monday, the storm hit hard the small island of Dominica, leaving "widespread devastation."
Tuesday, the storm is going to graze the Leeward Islands, already battered by Irma two weeks ago; thankfully, the hurricane's powerful core is expected to remain offshore. However, the vicious storm has St. Croix and Puerto Rico in its crosshairs, with landfall expected on Wednesday as a Category 5 hurricane.
Although a storm this far south is typically bad news for Florida, the consensus is that the hurricane will stay offshore from the US mainland, according to a model run on Tuesday morning:
American Airlines' Response
With a hub in Miami (MIA), American Airlines has a significant presence across the Bahamas and Caribbean. Many of its airports are likely to be affected by the storm. Here's how the airline is responding to the threat:
To help those trying to escape the storm, American Airlines is capping one-way nonstop fares from — and back to — the following airports. The fares will be $99 one-way in Main Cabin and $199 in any premium cabin. The price cap will remain in place through September 24.
- 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)
In addition to capping fares, the airline is adding capacity from San Juan (SJU) to Miami (MIA). The extra SJU flight (AA9240) will depart Tuesday afternoon at 2:40pm local time, operated by a 273-seat Boeing 777-200. A scheduled additional 737-800 flight to/from St. Croix (STX) for Tuesday was cancelled.
As of 8am Tuesday morning, 30 flights have been cancelled for Tuesday and another 30 flights have been cancelled Wednesday. Some of these cancellations are due to lingering effects from Hurricane Irma, which is still impacting AA operations at Key West, Florida (EYW); Santa Clara, Cuba (SNU); St. Maarten, Saint Maarten (SXM) and St. Thomas Island, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT).
Cancellations expected Tuesday-Wednesday at the following airports:
American Airlines also has three sets of change fee waivers for Hurricane Maria, in addition to 10 lingering waivers for Hurricane Irma. Basically, if you're flying to/from/through the Caribbean, Bahamas, Cuba, Florida, and even Georgia, Alabama or South Carolina over the next few days, open American Airlines' waiver page and search your origin, connecting and/or destination airport(s) to see if you can change your flights for free.