Hurricane Nate Nears Landfall on Gulf Coast, Airlines Extend Waivers North

Oct 7, 2017

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Hurricane Nate is about to pack a punch on the Gulf Coast. Landfall is predicted for 1am Central Time Sunday morning with top sustained winds around 105 miles per hour. This will make it a strong Category 2 hurricane. However, winds aren’t necessarily going to be Hurricane Nate’s legacy.

Just like Hurricane Harvey brought devastating rainfall and Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought devastating winds, Hurricane Nate seems primed to make its mark with “life-threatening storm surge flooding,” according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). To the east of the storm’s landfall, models are predicting up to 11 feet of storm surge. As of the NHC’s 11am Eastern update, storm surge is forecast in the following areas:

  • Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Mississippi/Alabama border: 7-11 feet
  • Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border, including Mobile Bay: 6-9 feet
  • Morgan City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River: 4-6 feet
  • Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line: 4-6 feet

If you’re living or visiting anywhere along the beautiful beaches of the Mississippi or Alabama coast, now is the time to find a safe place on high ground to ride out the storm. Remember, 88% of deaths from hurricanes are due to water — storm surge, flooding or surf — with a majority of deaths coming from storm surge.

2017.10.07.11 Hurricane Nate forecast

Hurricane Nate is forecast to produce such a strong storm surge due to its rapid forward motion, currently clocking in at 26 mph. This forward speed is expected to increase as Nate flies up the east coast. While this speediness will prevent the storm from dumping too much rain in any one place, it means that travel is going to be impacted across a wide area.

To help travelers avoid getting stuck, airlines are extending travel change fee waivers as far north as Virginia and West Virginia. If you do get stuck due to the storm, remember that 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 that have flight delay/cancellation insurance that can reimburse you for weather issues.

The top cards for trip delay insurance include 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 just recently when I got stuck in Japan due to a typhoon-related flight cancellation.

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

Tropical Storm Nate waiver airports 10.07.2017

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

Alaska

  • Travel dates: October 6-9
  • Airports affected: New Orleans (MSY)
  • Rebook travel anytime through October 9
  • You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all.
  • Tickets must be exchanged or refunded on or before October 9.

Allegiant Airlines

  • Travel dates: October 6-10
  • Airports affected: New Orleans (MSY) and Gulfport (GPT)
  • Passengers with reservations to / from any of the above cities, will be able to request a one-time change to their travel plans without incurring change / cancel fees. To do so, customers must call Allegiant Customer Care at 702-505-8888 at any time 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
  • Itineraries must be changed within 14 days from this weather advisory for travel on any future open date to any city in the Allegiant network, excluding Hawaii and San Juan.

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: October 6-9
  • Airports affected: Baton Rouge, Louisiana (BTR); Birmingham, Alabama (BHM); Destin / Fort Walton Beach, Florida (VPS); Gulfport / Biloxi, Mississippi (GPT); Hattiesburg / Laurel, Mississippi (PIB); Jackson, Mississippi (JAN); Meridian, Mississippi (MEI); Mobile, Alabama (MOB); Montgomery, Alabama (MGM); New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY); Pensacola, Florida (PNS)
  • Must have bought your ticket by October 5
  • Rebook travel anytime between October 6-15
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.
  • Travel dates: October 7-10
  • Airports affected: Asheville, North Carolina (AVL); Atlanta, Georgia (ATL); Bristol / Johnson City / Kingsport, Tennessee (TRI); Charleston, West Virginia (CRW); Charlottesville, Virginia (CHO); Chattanooga, Tennessee (CHA); Greenville / Spartanburg, South Carolina (GSP); Huntington, West Virginia (HTS); Huntsville, Alabama (HSV); Knoxville, Tennessee (TYS); Lynchburg, Virginia (LYH); Roanoke, Virginia (ROA)
  • Must have bought your ticket by October 6
  • Rebook travel anytime between October 7-15
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

Delta

  • Travel dates: October 6-9
  • Airports affected: Baton Rouge, LA (BTR); Destin, FL (VPS); Gulfport, MS (GPT); Jackson, MS (JAN); Lafayette, LA (LFT); Mobile, AL (MOB); New Orleans, LA (MSY); Pensacola, FL (PNS)
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: October 15
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond October 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: October 6-9
  • Airports affected: Cancun, Mexico (CUN) and New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: October 29
  • 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.

JetBlue

  • Travel dates: October 7-8
  • Airports affected: New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Must have bought your ticket by October 5
  • Rebook travel anytime through October 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.

Southwest

  • Cancun, Mexico (CUN): October 5-7
  • New Orleans (MSY): October 6-9
  • Panama City (ECP): October 6-9
  • Pensacola (PNS): October 6-9
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through CUN, MSY, ECP or PNS on the dates listed above, 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: October 7-8
  • Airports affected: New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Modification charge/fare difference waived through: October 12
  • Customers can make changes to their reservations by going to the Manage Travel page or calling Spirit at 801-401-2222.

United

  • Travel dates: October 6-9
  • Airports affected: Atlanta, GA (ATL); Baton Rouge, LA (BTR); Birmingham, AL (BHM); Chattanooga, TN (CHA); Ft. Walton Beach, FL (VPS); Gulfport, MS (GPT); Huntsville, AL (HSV); Jackson, MS (JAN); Lafayette, LA (LFT); Mobile, AL (MOB); New Orleans, LA (MSY); Pensacola, FL (PNS)
  • ​​​​​​The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before October 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 Sean Gardner/Getty Images.

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