Houston Flights Are Starting Again, But Don't Head To The Airport Just Yet

by Chris Tognotti
Rick Kern/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Over the past week, residents of the greater Houston area and across the middle and upper Texas coast have been hammered by one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. Making landfall as a hurricane before regressing into a still-fearsome and devastating tropical storm, Harvey has dumped feet of rain onto Texas communities, and left countless people displaced in its wake, their homes ruined. It's also hampered air travel in and out of the area, though that's reportedly starting to change ― Houston airports will be opening up again on Wednesday evening, though it'll reportedly be days before a standard flight schedule will begin again.

According to USA Today, both of Houston's major airports ― William P. Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental ― reopened at 4 p.m. CT. But the usual flight schedule and full operations of the airport could take days to resume, with the surrounding region still in the midst of floods, powerful winds, and heavy rainfall. A United Airlines spokesperson told NPR that the main focus going forward is "resumption of service."

Yesterday, we flew the last of the remaining customers who were at Houston out of the airport and into our other hubs. So right now, it's about preparing for the eventual resumption of service.

So far, 20 people have been confirmed killed by the storm, and images from the Houston area in recent days have shown deeply harrowing scenes, with feet of flood water making streets look like rivers, and making freeways look like bays.

Bush Intercontinental is one of United's most-trafficked airports, and the airline will reportedly be restarting a limited slate of domestic flights on Wednesday evening, though nothing like the full slate of domestic and worldwide flights it typically provides. The airport released a statement on Wednesday, urging that nobody come to the airport for the time being, unless they already have a ticket.

The Houston Airports plans to resume limited domestic airline passenger service today at 4 p.m. following severe weather caused by Hurricane Harvey. The plan is to begin a phased return to service, with full serice expected by this weekend. Contact your air carrier for specific flight status updates regarding your flight. Only those with a ticket for a confirmed scheduled flight should come to the airport.

The reason for the warning, according to the statement, is that many roads in Houston are still in hazardous condition, and thus driving should be kept to a minimum. It's unclear precisely how much longer Houston will be feeling the effects of Harvey, though it's presently moving northeast into Louisiana.