• Hurricane Hilary has caused over 1,000 flights to be canceled in the United States, with San Diego International Airport being the worst affected.
  • Southwest, the largest carrier in California, has canceled over 700 flights and issued a travel advisory to affected customers.
  • Major airlines have issued weather waivers for several airports in California, allowing passengers to rebook their flights for free.

Hundreds of flights in the United States have been canceled as Hurricane Hilary begins to make landfall. Over 750 flights were canceled Sunday as the Category 3 hurricane approaches the West Coast.

Hurricane Hilary forces cancellations and closures

Over 1,000 flights in, out, and within the United States have been canceled as California and Nevada brace themselves for Hurricane Hilary. The storm, expected to hit Southern California and parts of Nevada, has already wreaked havoc in Mexico.

Data from FlightAware shows the storm's impact on flight operations across the West Coast. The worst-affected airport is San Diego International Airport (SAN), with 37% of flights in or out canceled on Sunday. Los Cabos International Airport (SDJ) and Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) are following San Diego, both of which canceled over 20% of flights in or out on Sunday.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Heller, spokesman for San Diego International Airport, said, "We're just battening down the hatches."

View of planes lining up for takeoff the San Diego International Airport (SAN).
Photo: EQRoy/Shutterstock

Burbank Bob Hope International Airport (BUR) has canceled 58 flights in or out, while Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) canceled 11% of operations, amounting to 60 flights in and out. Those numbers are expected to spike as the worst of the storms batters the southwestern United States.

Southwest, the largest carrier in California, has canceled over 700 flights scheduled for Sunday and 190 flights for Monday. In a statement, the airline told USA TODAY,

"As California's largest carrier, we've made proactive adjustments to our flight schedule throughout the weekend and have communicated with affected customers, sharing details of our travel advisory that allows additional flexibility to self-serve rebooking on We will continue to share updates as the storm progresses, and we stand ready to assist and accommodate them during and following the storm."

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Airlines issue waivers

Aware of the potential disruptions caused by the hurricane and large passenger numbers, US airlines have decided to waive the typical rebooking fares to encourage flexible travelers to change their travel plans. Airlines have already issued weather waivers for passengers traveling through Los Cabos (SDJ), Harry Reid (LAS), Hollywood Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles (LAX), Long Beach (LGB), Ontario (ONT), San Diego (SAN), Santa Barbara (SBA), and John Wayne (SNA).

All major airlines have issued weather waivers for those airports for the next few days, with some going as late as August 28. Some airlines are more flexible than others, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue. US Airlines last issued travel waivers in December due to severe winter weather.

Many United Airlines aircraft parked at Houston IAH airport.
Photo: CaseyMartin | Shutterstock

American Airlines, for instance, issued a travel alert, telling passengers traveling through several airports in California they could rebook their flights for free by August 21. On the other hand, Delta said it will waive the change fee difference for travelers who rebook their ticket on or before August 23.

United has said it will not charge passengers to change their flight and fly between August 17th and 28th. Southwest Airlines has warned that weather may result in flight disruption, and passengers can rebook their flight at no charge within 14 days of their original travel date.

Do you think the waivers will support airlines in facing potential disruptions due to bad weather? Let us know by clicking on the comment button below!

Sources: Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY