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Airlines Begin Waiving Change Fees Ahead of Tropical Storm Michael

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© Getty Images PHOTO: Airplane waiting in the rain. (photo via Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

By Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse

Southwest Airlines is the first airline to waive change fees as Tropical Storm Michael approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The tropical system is expected to strengthen into a hurricane this week, likely making landfall along the Florida Panhandle late Wednesday or early Thursday.

In anticipation of travel impacts, Southwest has implemented a flexible rebooking policy for customers scheduled to fly to or from several cities in the storm's path this week, including New Orleans, Panama City, Florida and Pensacola, Florida Tuesday through Thursday.

The waiver also covers passengers traveling to or from Cancun, Mexico and Havana, Cuba through Tuesday.

"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 our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge," the airline's website stated.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines said that its Meteorology team in the airline's Operations & Customer Center was continuing to monitor Michael and that the airline will release more updates as the system develops.

It's likely that other major carriers operating flights to and from the Gulf Coast and Southeast will follow Southwest's lead and begin waiving change fees as the storm gets closer.

Weather models show Michael eventually tracking into Georgia and the Carolinas, which could potentially create travel headaches in Atlanta, Charlotte and other busy airports as well depending on the storm's strength at that point.

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Airlines Begin Waiving Change Fees Ahead of Tropical Storm Michael
Airlines Begin Waiving Change Fees Ahead of Tropical Storm Michael
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