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Air travel ‘to be pretty brutal this weekend’

Some Texas airports are no longer accepting or sending out jets and airlines have canceled hundreds of flights.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

Some Texas airports are no longer accepting or sending out jets and airlines have canceled hundreds of flights.

Since 2 p.m. Friday, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston has not operated commercial flights. No service is expected on Saturday.

“It's probably going to be pretty brutal this weekend,” said Rick Seaney, CEO of, an airline-ticket research site. “Being a Continental hub, it's going to hurt traffic from Newark and Latin America ...

“Southwest also has a huge presence there. It's going to effect a lot of short-haul flights from San Antonio and Dallas.”

Travelers should check flight schedules and operations with their airlines, or they can contact Houston Airport System's flight tracking hotline (281-230-7000) or Web site for the latest information.

“The Houston Airport System strongly recommends that customers not go to the airports unless they have a confirmed seat and that they have also confirmed with their airline that the flight is still operating,” the Web site reported.

Airlines curtailed service Friday to Texas cities in the path of Ike and offered to waive ticket-changing fees for passengers whose flights were scrubbed.

Houston-based Continental Airlines Inc., whose largest hub is at Bush Intercontinental, said service in Houston and any other affected cities was likely to resume Sunday.

Other airlines that operate flights in and out of Bush Intercontinental include AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier; Delta Air Lines Inc.; UAL Corp.'s United Airlines; US Airways Group Inc.; Northwest Airlines Corp. and many foreign carriers.

Southwest Airlines Co., which operates 144 daily flights from Hobby Airport, one of its busiest operations, canceled flights there and at Corpus Christi and Harlingen for Friday and Saturday.

JetBlue Airways Corp., AirTran Airways' parent AirTran Holdings Inc., Delta and AMR also operate at Hobby.

Most airlines said that travelers with itineraries including cities in the storm's path could change plans without penalty, although exact terms could differ by carrier.

While the airport closures will have a significant effect on air travel this weekend,'s Seaney said it could be worse:

“Systemwide, it won't be as bad as it would be if it was Atlanta or Newark.” contributor Rob Lovitt and The Associated Press contributed to this report.