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Hurricane Irene puts damper on flights

Aug. 26, 2011 – Hundreds of thousands of airline passengers will be grounded this weekend as Hurricane Irene sweeps up the U.S. East Coast, past some of the nation's busiest airports.


August 26, 2011
By Associated Press

Aug. 26, 2011 – Hundreds of thousands of airline passengers will be grounded this
weekend as Hurricane Irene sweeps up the U.S. East Coast, past some
of the nation's busiest airports.

JetBlue Airways said Friday it was scrubbing about 880 flights
between Saturday and Monday, most of them to and from hub airports
in New York and Boston.

American Airlines cancelled 32 flights on Friday, mostly in North
Carolina and Virginia, and expected to halt flights in and out of
Washington-area airports _ about 150 flights a day _ around noon
Saturday. Southwest Airlines planned to stop flights to and from
Norfolk, Virginia, beginning Saturday morning.

Irene is expected to make landfall around North Carolina on
Saturday, move up the coast to New York on Sunday and then weaken as
it plods through New England. It could strike major airports from
Washington to Boston.

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The JetBlue cancellations are likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Other airlines said Friday they were waiting to be more certain
about Irene's path before announcing more cancellations.

Airlines waived rebooking fees for customers who wanted to delay
their flights to more than two dozen cities on the East Coast.
Details varied by airline, with some giving travellers more time to
make their rescheduled flight. Travelers whose flights were
cancelled would be eligible for refunds.

George Hobica, founder of the travel website airfarewatchdog.com,
said travellers who bought nonrefundable tickets should wait until
the airline cancels the flight rather than taking the airlines'
offer to reschedule by a few days.

The problem with rebooking on the airlines' terms, Hobica said,
is that you're unlikely to want to take the same trip a few days
later.