9 Airlines Issue Waivers for Gulf Coast As a Strengthening Barry Nears Landfall

Jul 12, 2019

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A little more than 24 hours from expected landfall, Tropical Storm Barry has strengthened again. As the storm approaches the Louisiana coast, nine airlines have now issued travel waivers for the storm. And a couple more airlines have already started cancelling flights.

As of 11am Eastern Time, the National Hurricane Center reports that the top sustained winds have reached 65 mph. That’s just 9 mph shy of the storm being classified as a hurricane.

The official forecast calls for the storm to strengthen further to reach that threshold just before making landfall Saturday on the Mississippi coast as a Category 1 hurricane. Ahead of the storm’s landfall, hurricane warnings have been issued from Intercoastal City, Louisiana to Grand Isle, LA:

Don’t be fooled by the forecast that Barry will “just” be a category 1 hurricane. The threat from this tropical system has been more about the flooding damage rather than wind speed. Just like Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic flooding of Houston, Tropical Storm Barry threatens to inflict potentially disastrous flooding along the Gulf Coast.

Due to the slow movement of the storm, rain forecasts for parts of Louisiana call for areas receiving more than 20 inches of rain on top of already soaked ground.

Seven day rain forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
Seven day rain forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

In addition, as the storm approaches the coast, the storm’s circulation will continue to push water into low-lying areas, causing what the National Hurricane Center is calling “life-threatening storm surge inundation.”

The combination of the heavy rainfall and storm surge could have disastrous implications, especially along the Mississippi River. Earlier this week, the National Weather Service forecast the Mississippi River would crest around 20 feet — which would be the highest level since 1927 and right at the 20-foot height of the levees protecting New Orleans. Thankfully, Barry hasn’t developed as expected and the forecast has been lowered to 19 feet. That level would still be the highest level recorded since 1950.

If you have a flight to, from or through the Gulf Coast this weekend, you’re probably going to want to avoid the area. Thankfully, most airlines operating from airports in the crosshairs of the storm have issued weather waivers allowing flexible travelers the option to rebook their flights to avoid the storm.

In addition to the weather waivers below, other airlines have started cancelling flights:

  • British Airways has cancelled flights to/from New Orleans on Friday, July 12
  • Copa Airlines has cancelled flights to/from New Orleans on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13.

In This Post

Alaska

  • Travel dates: July 11-13
  • Covered airport: New Orleans (MSY)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: July 10
  • Rebooked travel must occur between July 11-17
  • We will waive the change fees and the difference in the price of the ticket if the new travel is booked to or from the affected cities in the same cabin and travel is completed during the new travel dates listed above. Additional taxes may apply. If you choose not to travel at this time, you may deposit the funds into your My Account Wallet for future travel.

Allegiant

  • Allegiant’s website warns its flyers that “based on forecasted weather conditions, our scheduled service may be disrupted to and from the following cities on the dates indicated below.” At this time, it doesn’t seem that Allegiant is allowing free changes.
  • Travel dates: July 12-15
  • Covered airports: Gulfport, MS (GPT); New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Travel dates listed below may be disrupted due to the weather conditions.  Please continue to monitor this page for updates regarding your flight (s). Customers may also call Allegiant Customer Care at 702-505-8888 at any time 24 hours per day, seven days a week for assistance.

American

  • Travel dates: July 11-14
  • Covered airports: Alexandria, Louisiana (AEX); Baton Rouge, Louisiana (BTR); Beaumont / Port Arthur, Texas (BPT); Gulfport / Biloxi, Mississippi (GPT); Hattiesburg / Laurel, Mississippi (PIB); Jackson, Mississippi (JAN); Lafayette, Louisiana (LFT); Lake Charles, Louisiana (LCH); Meridian, Mississippi (MEI); Mobile, Alabama (MOB); New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY); Pensacola, Florida (PNS)
  • Must have purchased ticket by: July 11
  • Rebooked travel must occur between July 11-18
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference. No changes in origin or destination are allowed.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.

Delta

  • Travel dates: July 12-14
  • Covered airports: Baton Rouge, LA (BTR); Gulfport, MS (GPT); Jackson, MS (JAN); Lafayette, LA (LFT); Mobile, AL (MOB); New Orleans (MSY)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: July 11
  • Tickets must be reissued by: July 17
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: July 17
  • Changes to origins and destinations may result in an increase in fare. Any difference in fare between your original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking.
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond July 17, 2019, 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 is not able to 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. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates.

Frontier

  • Travel dates: July 11-14
  • Covered airports: Houston, TX (IAH); Jackson, MS (JAN); Lafayette, LA (LFT); New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Customers who are ticketed to travel between Thursday, July 11, 2019 and Sunday, July 14, 2019, who purchased tickets on or before Wednesday, July 10, 2019, may make one itinerary change – rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.
  • Travel must be completed no later than Friday, July 26, 2019. Origin and destination cities may be changed. Customers whose flights are cancelled may request a refund.

JetBlue

  • Travel dates: July 10-14
  • Covered airport: New Orleans (MSY)
  • Customers may rebook their flights for travel through July 20
  • Original travel must have been booked on or before July 10
  • Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment
  • Make the change online in the ‘Manage Flights’ section of jetblue.com or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight

Southwest

  • Travel dates: July 9-13
  • Covered airports: Panama City Beach (ECP) and Pensacola (PNS)
  • Travel dates: July 9-15
  • Covered airport: New Orleans (MSY)
  • Travel dates: July 10-14
  • Covered airports: Corpus Christi (CRP) and Houston (HOU)
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through the cities listed above on the corresponding dates, 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.
  • Customers who purchased their itinerary via Southwest.com or our mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device. Customers who did not purchase a ticket via Southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.

Spirit

  • Travel dates: July 11-14
  • Covered airports: Houston, TX (IAH) and New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Modification Charge/Fare Difference waived through: July 19
  • After this date, the modification charge is waived, but a fare difference may apply.
  • Guests can make changes to their reservations affected by this event by going to our Manage Travel page, or by calling the Spirit Reservations Center at 801-401-2222 to make their flight changes.

United

  • Travel dates: July 11-14
  • Covered airports: Alexandria, LA (AEX)​; Baton Rouge, LA (BTR)​; Ft. Walton Beach, FL (VPS)​; Gulfport, MS (GPT)​; Jackson, MS (JAN)​; Lafayette, LA (LFT)​; Lake Charles, LA (LCH)​; Mobile, AL (MOB)​; Monroe, LA (MLU)​; New Orleans, LA (MSY)​; Panama City, FL (ECP); Pensacola, FL (PNS)​; Shreveport, LA (SHV)​
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing between July 11 and July 21, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.
  • For wholly rescheduled travel departing after July 21, 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.

Protect Your Travels

Tropical Storm Barry is another reminder to book flights with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. When I got stuck in Japan for four extra days due to a typhoon, I was very grateful for the Citi Prestige’s trip delay protection, which reimbursed $1,000 of our expenses.

Although Citi Prestige Card is currently my go-to for booking flights, an upcoming devaluation to its travel benefits will soon knock it out of its top spot. Starting September 22, I’ll be using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book my flights going forward.

Featured image: Sandbags line a barber shop in preparation for tropical storm Barry in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 11, 2019. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP / Getty Images)

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