February 28, 2024

American Airlines Flight 718, the first commercial US Boeing 737 MAX flight since regulators lifted a 20-month lockdown in November, will depart Miami, Florida, USA on December 29, 2020.

Marco Bello | Reuters

Major US airlines eased ticket change policies for several cities in Florida as Tropical Storm Elsa approached the state.

Tropical storms were expected in the Florida Keys and southwest Florida on Monday evening and Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour, the NOAA said.

American Airlines said it would waive the rebooking fees for the most restrictive tickets, basic economy, and any fare differences for all travelers booking to or from Fort Meyers, Key West, Sarasota and Tampa by July 7, if Customers can travel until July 7th July 12th. Thereafter, a tariff difference would apply.

Delta Air Lines is issuing a similar waiver for the same cities if travelers can rebook their tickets for flights by July 10th at the latest. The United Airlines waiver applies to these cities as well as Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and Orlando.

These airlines scrapped ticket change fees on standard economy bookings and above last year to help boost sales during the pandemic. Competitor Southwest Airlines did not charge change fees prior to the pandemic.

However, the airline’s new policy does not apply to non-refundable and non-modifiable Basic Economy tickets.

Tropical storms, hurricanes, and snowstorms can often make it easier for airlines to prepare as they usually have advance warning and can cancel flights early enough to avoid customers being stuck at the airport or crews out of place.

More unpredictable summer thunderstorms can lead to major disruptions, as experienced by airlines late last week when hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed during a busy vacation trip.