As we brace for potentially record breaking temps here in the Valley this week, American Airlines is giving customers the chance to change their flights at no cost. It’s all to avoid possible travel interruptions.
The extreme heat hasn’t caused any flight cancellations or delays Sunday, but that could all change starting Monday.
If you have an important meeting or family function you must be at and you’re going to be departing or arriving in Phoenix between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, American Airlines is giving you the option to travel earlier or later without paying the $200-dollar flight change fee and any difference in fare. That’s during the hottest part of the day.
But what about connecting flights that stop at Phoenix Sky Harbor?
“Maybe we can have them connect through one of our other hubs like Los Angeles, maybe Dallas Fort Worth, Chicago, another location that will l ensure that they have no disruption to their travel plans,” said Ross Feinstein, American Airlines Senior Manager.
Feinstein said some of the regional flights use planes that just might be maxed out when it comes to the extreme heat.
“The aircraft we operate are CRJs that are operated by our regional partners Mesa and Sky West out of Phoenix Sky Harbor, and those have a limit of about 118 degrees,” said Feinstein.
He said the aircraft operated by Boeing and Airbus can handle temperatures into the mid 120s, so there’s less of a concern for those planes.
Heat has disrupted travel at Sky Harbor in the past. Back in 1990, Phoenix experienced its hottest day ever with 122-degree weather. Planes were grounded because their manuals didn't include instructions for such high temperatures, so pilots didn't know how to adjust their settings.
“We want to make sure that they get to their destination on time, and we know that there might be some impact to our flight operations, so the earlier the better for us,” said Feinstein.
If you don’t change your flight and it ends up getting canceled or it’s excessively delayed, American Airlines says passengers can receive a full refund.