Tropical Storm Harvey to Hit Texas as Hurricane; Airlines Prepare

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Tropical Storm Harvey is set to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane before hitting Texas late Friday or Friday night.

According to the latest forecast from Accuweather, Harvey regained tropical storm status 12 a.m. EDT Thursday and is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Texas coast, although its exact path is uncertain at this point as a non-tropical system may block the storms path. Harvey could bring major flooding to parts of Texas and Louisiana from Friday to early next week. 

In anticipation of the storms arrival Texas Governor Greg Abbott preemptively declared a State of Disaster for the following counties in the state: Aransas, Austin, Bee, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Brazoria, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton and Wilson counties.

Flight Updates

American Airlines is allowing travelers impacted by the storm to change their flight with no fee. Customers traveling through Austin, Beaumont / Port Arthur, College Station, Corpus Christi, Houston (both HOU and IAH), McAllen / Mission and San Antonio in Texas, as well as Lake Charles in Louisiana, can rebook with no fee if they bought their ticket by August 23 and are scheduled to travel August 25 – 27, with rebooked travel to take place through August 30 between the same city pair in the same cabin class (or pay the difference).

United Airlines has issued a change fee waiver for new flights departing on or before August 30 through Austin, Brownsville, College Station, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio in Texas in the originally ticketed cabin between the same city pair. The original travel date must have been August 25 – 27.

Delta has issued a change waiver for flights through both Houston airports booked August 25 – 26. The ticket must be reissued on or before August 29 with rebooked travel to take place no later than that same day.

Southwest Airlines has issued a change waiver for flights through Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, Harlingen and San Antonio for customers with flights booked August 25 through 27. Customers may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pair.

Finally, JetBlue is waiving change and cancellation fees and fare differences for customers traveling August 25 – 26 through Austin, Houston and New Orleans. Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment. Original travel must have been booked on or before August 23.

Cruise Updates

A representative from the Port of New Orleans tells Travel Agent that the port does not anticipate any impacts on port operations by the storm at this time.

Port NOLA and its Emergency Preparedness team will continue to monitor its development in the coming days," a representative of the port said.

Earlier this week Tropical Storm Harvey forced a number of cruise lines to adjust their itineraries in the Caribbean. In addition to schedule changes for Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Escape, Carnival Cruise Line altered the August 19 sailing on Carnival Paradise out of Tampa and the August 20 sailing on the Carnival Breeze out of Galveston. Carnival Paradise replaced its planned call at Roatan, Honduras, August 21 with a call at Grand Cayman, while Carnival Breeze sailed a reverse itinerary, calling at Roatan, Belize and Cozumel a day earlier than planned.

A representative from Norwegian Cruise Line says there have been no further updates since the changes to Norwegian Escapes itinerary.

A representative from Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises says that there have been no changes since earlier in the week, when the two lines said that they are currently monitoring the path of the storm and will inform guests and travel partners of any changes.

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