Video: Airlines waive fees over Calif. fires

updated 10/24/2007 5:06:33 PM ET 2007-10-24T21:06:33

Airlines are waiving some fees for passengers who need to change their plans because of devastating wildfires in Southern California.

AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc., Delta Air Lines, UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and US Airways all had notices on their Web sites Wednesday telling customers flying to and from Southern California that they can change their flights for free, saving up to $100 per ticket.

"It's much like when a hurricane impacts the Southeast," said Betsy Talton, spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. "For severe incidents such as this, we try to help our customers to make sure they can change their travel plans. It's good customer service."

More than a dozen wind-driven wildfires have destroyed more than 1,500 homes in Southern California since Sunday, caused in excess of $1 billion in damage and forced a half-million people to flee to safer surroundings, the largest evacuation in state history.

The airlines are waiving fees for passengers to and from nearly a dozen cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, Burbank, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs, with flight dates through Nov. 1.

"It's the right thing to do," said Morgan Durrant, spokesman for Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways Group Inc. "We've got customers moving in and out of there that probably need to their change travel plans because, of course, of the impact the fires are having on Southern California."

Slideshow: California wildfires An American spokesman said waiving fees is fairly standard in similar situations.

"Frankly, it's not a good place to be on vacation right now, and business people aren't traveling because they're taking care of their homes," spokesman Tim Wagner said.

Airline representatives did not know how many passengers have changed their plans because of the wildfires.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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