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Airlines Extend Waivers to Florida Ahead of Potentially Catastrophic Irma

Sept. 06, 2017
11 min read
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For the latest forecast and travel waivers, click here to see our newest post on Hurricane Irma.


One of the strongest hurricanes on record, Irma passed over Barbuda, St. Barthelemy and St. Maarten on Wednesday morning, leaving a trail of destruction behind it. The devastating storm is expected to plow forward into the northern Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later Wednesday.

Travelers and residents in these areas should immediately find shelter on high ground.

Overnight, the famous (or infamous) St. Maarten airport (SXM) forecast reflected 140 knot (160+ mph) expected winds. That forecast was realized — one of the webcams showing the beach next to the airport's runway was finally knocked offline after showing a terrifying scene.

Scenes from the airport in the aftermath make it clear that damage has been heavy:

FORECAST

Thursday, the storm is expected to pass just north of the Dominican Republic coast and into the Bahamas. Due to the rotation of the storm, areas north of the core of the storm can expect catastrophic flooding. In the Turks and Caicos Islands and Southeastern Bahamas, tides are expected to be 15-20 feet higher than normal. Waves will break even higher than that.

From there, hurricane models continue to show an easterly turn from previous forecasts. The latest update (11am Eastern) now predicts a Category 4 hurricane to make landfall Sunday morning in South Florida before continuing up the Florida coast.

145453_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind

However, other models predict an even more easterly turn, which would spare much of the Florida Keys and skim the coast of Florida before making landfall in the Carolinas:

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Currently, the destructive core of the monster storm remains compact. Top sustained winds remain at an unbelievable 185 mph, but hurricane force winds only extend outward 50 miles. Exactly where the core of the storm hits will make a significant difference. So, travelers and residents in the Bahamas, Cuba, Florida and northward into Georgia and the Carolinas need to keep a close watch on this storm.

WEATHER WAIVERS

If you are traveling in the area, many airlines have released travel waivers allowing you to change your travel plans. If you aren't yet there, these weather waivers will let you rebook your trip avoid the area until the storm passes. For those in the area, flights are quickly filling up and standby lists are growing. But, you may be able to change your flights to get out ahead of the storm.

Below is a map of all the airports affected by waivers:

hurricane_irma_weather_waivers_wed_9-6-17

If you are stuck due to the storm, airlines aren’t going to be responsible for paying for your meals or hotels in the case of weather-related delays/cancellations. That's why we recommend paying for flights with cards have flight delay/cancellation insurance that can reimburse you for weather issues, including the Citi Prestige ($500 per passenger for 3+ hour delay), the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay) and Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay). My Citi Prestige personally came in handy a few weeks ago when I got stuck in Japan due to a typhoon-related flight cancellation.

As of this writing, here are the available travel waivers for this storm:

Alaska

  • Travel dates: September 6-12
  • Airports affected: Havana (HAV); Fort Lauderdale (FLL); Orlando (MCO); Tampa (TPA)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 6
  • Rebook travel anytime through September 19
  • You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all.
  • Tickets must be exchanged or refunded on or before September 12, 2017.

American Airlines

LEEWARD ISLANDS & PUERTO RICO

  • Travel dates: September 5-9
  • Airports affected: Anguilla Wallblake, Anguilla (AXA); Antigua, Antigua (ANU); Beef Island, British Virgin Islands (EIS); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); St. Croix Island, U.S. Virgin Islands (STX); St. Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKB); St. Maarten, Saint Maarten (SXM); St. Thomas Island, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT); Cap-Haitien, Haiti (CAP); Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP); Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP); Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (PLS); Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ); Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ); Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 3
  • Rebook travel anytime between September 4-12
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

CUBA & BAHAMAS

  • Travel dates: September 5-12
  • CUBA Airports affected: Cienfuegos, Cuba (CFG); Camaguey, Cuba (CMW); Havana, Cuba (HAV); Holguin, Cuba (HOG); Santa Clara, Cuba (SNU); Varadero, Cuba (VRA)
  • BAHAMAS Airports affected: North Eleuthera, Bahamas (ELH); Freeport, Bahamas (FPO); Exuma, Bahamas (GGT); Marsh Harbour, Bahamas (MHH); Nassau, Bahamas (NAS); San Salvador, Bahamas (ZSA)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 5
  • Rebook travel anytime between September 5-15
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

FLORIDA

  • Travel dates: September 5-12
  • Airports affected: Key West, Florida (EYW); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL); Miami, Florida (MIA); Palm Beach, Florida (PBI); Fort Myers, Florida (RSW); Sarasota, Florida (SRQ)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 5
  • Rebook travel anytime between September 5-15
  • You can change your origin or destination city within 300 miles. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

Delta

  • Travel dates: September 5-9
  • Airports affected: Punta Cana, DO (PUJ); San Juan, PR (SJU); Santiago, DO (STI); St. Croix, VI (STX); St. Maarten, SX (SXM); St. Thomas, VI (STT); Turk Caicos ISLS, TC (PLS)
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: September 12
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond September 12, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue.
  • If travel cannot be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance.
  • Travel dates: September 5-12
  • Airports affected: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL); Fort Myers, FL (RSW); Freeport, BS (FPO); Georgetown, BS (GGT); Havana, CU (HAV); Key West, FL (EYW); Miami, FL (MIA); Nassau, BS (NAS); Sarasota, FL (SRQ); West Palm Beach, Florida (PBI)
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: September 15
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond September 15, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue.
  • If travel cannot be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance.

Frontier

  • Travel dates: September 5-12
  • Airports affected: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL); Orlando, FL (MCO); Miami, FL (MIA); Fort Myers, FL (RSW); Tampa, FL (TPA); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 4
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: October 15
  • Origin and destination cities may be changed.
  • One change available. Rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.

Flight Cancellations:

  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017
  • 1658 Orlando to San Juan
  • 1040 Philadelphia to San Juan
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2017
  • 1041 San Juan to Philadelphia
  • 681 San Juan to Orlando
  • 104 Philadelphia to Punta Cana
  • 105 Punta Cana to Philadelphia

JetBlue

Eastern Caribbean

  • Travel dates: September 5-7
  • Airports affected: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (BQN); Antigua (ANU); Ponce, Puerto Rico (PSE); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); St. Croix (STX); St. Maarten (SXM); St. Thomas (STT)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 4
  • Rebook travel anytime through September 11
  • To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. If you are already checked in for your flight, call [JetBlue] at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) for assistance with rebooking or a credit.

Western Caribbean

  • Travel dates: September 6-8
  • Airports affected: Puerto Plata, DR (POP); Punta Cana, DR (PUJ); Santo Domingo, DR (SDQ); Santiago, DR (STI); Havana, Cuba (HAV); Santa Clara, Cuba (SNU); Camaguey, Cuba (CMW); Holguin, Cuba (HOG); Providenciales, Turks & Caicos (PLS); Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 5
  • Rebook travel anytime through September 11
  • To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. If you are already checked in for your flight, call [JetBlue] at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) for assistance with rebooking or a credit.

Florida

  • Travel dates: September 9-10
  • Airports affected: Fort Lauderale, FL (FLL); West Palm Beach, FL (PBI); Fort Myers, FL (RSW); Sarasota, FL (SRQ); Tampa, FL (TPA); Orlando, FL (MCO)
  • Must have bought your ticket by September 5
  • Rebook travel anytime through September 12
  • To rebook travel or request a refund online, click here. If you are already checked in for your flight, call [JetBlue] at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) for assistance with rebooking or a credit.

Southwest

  • Travel dates: September 5-11
  • Airports affected: Fort Lauderdale (FLL); Fort Myers (RSW); Havana (HAV); Nassau (NAS); Orlando (MCO); Punta Cana (PUJ); San Juan (SJU); Tampa (TPA); West Palm Beach (PBI)
  • Customers who are holding reservations for flights departing during these dates, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook 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 Southwest’s accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

Spirit Airlines

  • Travel dates: September 6-11
  • Airports affected: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL); Fort Myers (RSW); Orlando, FL (MCO); Tampa, FL (TPA)
  • Modification charge/fare difference waived through: September 16
  • Customers can make changes to their reservations by going to the Manage Travel page or calling Spirit at 801-401-2222.
  • Travel dates: September 5-7
  • Airports affected: Aguadilla, PR (BQN); San Juan, PR (SJU); St. Thomas, USVI (STT)
  • Modification charge/fare difference waived through: September 11
  • Customers can make changes to their reservations by going to the Manage Travel page or calling Spirit at 801-401-2222.
  • Travel dates: September 7-8
  • Airports affected: Port-au-Prince, HT (PAP); Santiago, DR (STI); Santo Domingo, DR (SDQ)
  • Modification charge/fare difference waived through: September 12
  • Customers can make changes to their reservations by going to the Manage Travel page or calling Spirit at 801-401-2222.

United

Puerto Rico

  • Travel dates: September 5-7
  • Airports affected: Aguadilla, PR, US (BQN) and San Juan, PR, US (SJU)
  • ​​​​​​The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before September 11, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Bahamas, Cuba, and Dominican Republic

  • Travel dates: September 5-9
  • Airports affected: Havana, CU (HAV); Nassau, BS (NAS); Puerto Plata, DO (POP); Punta Cana, DO (PUJ); Santiago, DO (STI); Santo Domingo, DO (SDQ)
  • ​​​​​​The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before September 12, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Florida

  • Travel dates: September 5-12
  • Airports affected: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL); Ft. Myers, FL (RSW); Miami, FL (MIA); West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
  • ​​​​​​The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before September 15, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​
Featured image by AFP/Getty Images

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023