Airlines curtail flights, waive ticket-change fees as Hurricane Ike threatens Houston and other Texas cities

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

Aviation officials in Houston said flights at George Bush Intercontinental Airport were being suspended at 2 p.m. CDT on Friday and 3:30 p.m. CDT at the smaller Hobby Airport.

Houston-based Continental Airlines Inc., whose largest hub is at Bush Intercontinental, said it might also stop flights early Friday afternoon at other airports along the Gulf. It 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 American Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier; Delta Air Lines; United Airlines; US Airways; Northwest Airlines Corp. and many foreign carriers.

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Southwest Airlines, 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. Other carriers also have stopped flying out of 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.

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