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United Extends Houston Travel Waiver, Showing ‘Unprecedented Largesse,’ Expert Says – Forbes

Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey surround a gas station in Houston on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. . Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

With travel in the area affected by Hurricane Harvey likely to decline sharply, United Airlines is giving passengers plenty of time to decide whether to complete planned travel to and from the region.

United said Thursday that passengers to and from Houston and the surrounding area have until Nov. 15 to reschedule travel without paying either a change fee or any difference in the fare.

Travel writer Joe Brancatelli said United is demonstrating “unprecedented largesse.”

“I can’t remember the last time an airline gave people 60 plus days to rebook travel in a waiver as United is doing,” Brancatelli said Friday in an email.

Not only does the carrier anticipate a delay in returning to its full schedule at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but also, Brancatelli said, “Demand for flights into the area will logically be down sharply as travelers avoid Houston for a few months {and} Houston-area travelers may not fly out for business or holidays because they’ll be concentrating on rebuilding homes and businesses.”

United’s waiver applies to flights involving Houston, New Orleans and 13 nearby cities: Austin, Brownsville, College Station, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Laredo, McAllen, and San Antonio in Texas, as well as Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Shreveport in Louisiana.

The full waiver applies to new tickets in the same class with the same routing. For rescheduled travel that involves a change in the departure or the destination city, the change fee will be waived but the fare difference will apply, United said.

American and Delta, which serve Houston from their hubs, are allowing passengers until Sept. 7 to change without penalty, but travel must be completed by Sept. 20.

On Thursday, United operated 44 arrivals and 27 departures at Houston.

Normally United offers 483 daily departures including 218 mainline departures from Houston, its second-largest hub.

United Extends Houston Travel Waiver, Showing ‘Unprecedented Largesse,’ Expert Says – Forbes

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