Airlines Issue Flight Waivers Due to California Wildfires

Nov 10, 2018

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This post has been updated with additional flight waiver information.

Santa Ana winds have returned to California, fueling massive wildfires throughout the state. The two largest fires that are burning at the moment, the Woolsey Fire and Camp Fire, have claimed the lives of at least nine people. Additionally, both fires have triggered mass evacuations. Now, United Airlines has become the first airline to issue a travel advisory and waivers for customers.

The following airports are included in United’s waiver:

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

The waiver, which extends through November 18th, allows for changes and cancellations to be made without penalty:

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

Travel Waiver Details (Image via United.com)

 

American Airlines is also issuing flight waivers as of Saturday afternoon.

If you’re traveling to/through/from:

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

The change fee may be waived if you:

  • Are traveling on an American Airlines flight
  • Bought your ticket by November 10, 2018
  • Are scheduled to travel November 10 – 11, 2018
  • Can travel November 10 – 18, 2018
  • Don’t change your origin or destination city
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference

Fine particulates and dense smoke from the fires has created unsafe flying conditions around the three airports listed above. However, most flights are operating without issue. The waiver takes into account the issues travelers in the area are likely facing. Among those issues are traffic jams, power outages and strained emergency resources.

While United and American Airlines have issued waivers, all other major airlines have yet to follow suit. Southwest Airlines noted that they were monitoring the situation. Though Alaska Airlines has yet to issue a formal waiver, the airline has stated that they are monitoring the situation as well and are issuing waivers on a case-by-case basis.

This post has been updated with additional flight waiver information.

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