Delta, American Drop Change Fees Ahead of Hurricane Sandy

Change Fees Waived as Transportation Providers Prepare for Sandy
The tail of a US Airways Group Inc. plane is seen as it sits on the tarmac at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Delta Air Lines Inc., US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines waived fees for changing reservations for travel in the East and Northeast U.S. in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy bringing high winds and heavy rain to the region next week.

Delta, the second-biggest U.S. carrier, today waived charges to change flights to and from seven states and the District of Columbia for travel on Oct. 29 through Oct. 31, according to the airline’s website. US Airways waived change fees on flights at 44 U.S. airports on the same dates, while the policy at AMR Corp.’s American covers 22 airports for Oct. 28 through Oct. 31.

JetBlue Airways Corp. dropped fees to change flights to and from New York-area and Washington-area airports and Richmond, Virginia, on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.

Megabus, the discount bus line owned by Stagecoach Group Plc, said it’s allowing customers scheduled to travel in nine states and Washington, D.C., between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 to reschedule their trips by phone, with no fees, said Mike Alvich, a company spokesman.

Operations personnel at Amtrak, the Washington-based interstate passenger railroad, will meet later today to make decisions on canceling trains and positioning employees to remove trees and clear tracks, said Steve Kulm, a spokesman.

“We’ve been monitoring this in a serious way for the last three or four days,” he said.

FAA Steps

Based on experience with previous storms, Amtrak may be able to keep running longer than airports can stay open, he said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the air traffic system, is monitoring Sandy and taking steps to protect its radars, radio antennas and navigation beacons from the storm, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.

“The FAA’s top operational priority is to quickly re-establish air traffic service to support disaster relief efforts,” the agency said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York City’s subway and bus system as well as trains to outlying areas, warned of possible service suspensions. The agency last shut down its network in August 2011 when Tropical Storm Irene threatened the area.