Airlines Waive Change Fees as California Wildfires Spread

Nov 12, 2018

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Three simultaneous and powerful wildfires have been ripping through California since Thursday. The combined death toll from the blazes ravaging the state has risen to at least 31, officials said Monday.

In the state’s northern region, the so-called “Camp Fire” has destroyed at least 6,700 structures, most of them homes, according to CBS News. That fire, said to be the most destructive in California’s history, is based mainly in the town of Paradise. Authorities said 200 people from the town were still unaccounted for. The “Camp Fire” current death toll — 29 perished — matches the state’s record for most deaths in a wildfire.

PARADISE, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Trees burn as the Camp Fire moves through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the rapidly spreading Camp Fire has ripped through the town of Paradise and has quickly charred 18,000 acres and has destroyed dozens of homes in a matter of hours. The fire is currently at zero containment. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In Southern California, the “Woolsey Fire” and “Hill Fire” have burned through nearly 90,000 acres and have caused the evacuation of more than 250,000 people. At least two people have died in the fires as they rip through houses in Malibu, Calabasas and neighboring cities.

Hotels in Southern California have been closing their doors to travelers while the blazes tear through the region. The Four Season in Westlake VillageHomewood Suites in Agoura HillsSheraton Agoura Hills and the Hyatt Regency Westlake have all reportedly shut down.

The fires are also interrupting air travel across the state, as the smoke creates reduced visibility for airlines flying into airports up and down California. Several major US airlines have waived change fees for flights to, from or through several airports in California due to the multiple wildfires. Below is a roundup of the airlines’ travel waivers:


Affected airports:

  • Burbank, CA (BUR)
  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)​
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)

Travel dates: Nov. 9 – Nov. 13, 2018​

The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before Nov. 18, 2018, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​


Affected airports:

  • Burbank, California (BUR)
  • Los Angeles, California (LAX)
  • Oakland, California (OAK)
  • Sacramento, California (SMF)
  • San Francisco, California (SFO)

Travel dates: Nov. 10 – 13, 2018

The change fee may be waived if you:

  • Are traveling on an American Airlines flight
  • Bought your ticket by Nov. 10, 2018
  • Are scheduled to travel Nov. 10 – 13, 2018
  • Can travel Nov. 10 – 18, 2018
  • Don’t change your origin or destination city
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference


Affected airports:

  • Burbank, California (BUR)
  • Los Angeles, California (LAX)
  • Oakland, California (OAK)
  • San Francisco, California (SFO)

Travel dates: Nov. 12 – 13, 2018

Ticket must be issued on or before: Nov. 18, 2018

Rebooked travel must begin no later than: Nov. 18, 2018

When rescheduled travel occurs beyond Nov. 18, 2018, 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. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.


Affected airports:

  • Burbank, CA (BUR)
  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • Oakland, CA (OAK)
  • Sacramento, CA (SMF)
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)

Travel dates: Nov. 10 – Nov. 13, 2018

Customers may rebook their flights for travel through Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, online in the ‘Manage Flights’ section of or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight. Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment. Original travel must have been booked on or before Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.


Affected airports:

  • Burbank (BUR)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Oakland (OAK)
  • Sacramento (SMF)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • San Jose (SJC)

Travel dates: Nov. 9 – Nov. 13, 2018

Customers who are holding reservations on the above-mentioned 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 our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.

Featured image by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.

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