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Hail damage still canceling flights

2:30 PM, Jul 18, 2011   |    comments
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Frontier Airlines says they have cancelled almost 100 flights from Saturday through Monday due to hail damage to almost a third of its fleet. On Sunday, the airline announced the cancellations will stretch into Tuesday at DIA.

Aviation Safety Consultant Steve Cowell says hail can damage the airframe of a plane. It can create larger holes and severely affect the aerodynamics.

He says if there is damage on the wing, it is even worse, and it can affect anti-icing and electrical capabilities.

"They're trying to do everything they can to get these airplanes, get them repaired and back into service just as quickly as possible. But on the same token, they have to be within certain tolerances allowed by the FAA," Cowell said.

Frontier says crews are working on repairs around the clock, but says it may be the end of next week before all operations return to normal.

In the meantime, the airline has contracted some replacement aircraft for their flights and is even flying customers on other airlines.

The airline is contacting its customers via email, but if you booked a ticket through a travel agent, you should check your flight before you head to the airport.

Frontier has put into place new guidelines for passengers traveling on July 14 through July 19.

Passengers who bought a Frontier Airlines ticket on or before July 14 and are currently traveling and would like to adjust their return trip can rebook their travel until midnight on July 19. Travel must be completed by Aug. 5, and the origin and destination cities must be the same and the fare difference and change fee will be waived.

Those who have purchased tickets on or before July 14 to travel before Aug. 5 and have not started their travel can rebook their flight before July 19 at midnight. The change fees and fare difference will be waived as long as the city of origin and destination remain the same.

For those who are traveling on or after Aug. 5, change fees will be waived but the fare difference will apply.

To check flights from Frontier Airlines, visit: http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/flight-info/weather

United Airlines has canceled 13 more departures from DIA on Sunday while it inspected airplanes for damage from a hailstorm last week.

United spokesman Mike Trevino said he didn't know if any Sunday arrivals were canceled because of the hailstorm, which struck Wednesday. Denver International Airport's website listed about 20 United arrivals that were canceled at one point Sunday, but it wasn't known how many were attributed to the hailstorm.

All 13 departures canceled on Sunday were United Express regional flights, Trevino said. A 14th United Express flight was canceled for reasons unrelated to the storm, he said.

Eleven United planes remained out of service for inspection, Trevino said. He didn't know how many were damaged.

United said it had canceled more than 100 Denver flights on Thursday and Friday because of the hail inspections.

Southwest Airlines, another big carrier in Denver, said three of its planes were damaged by hail, but with 550 planes in its fleet, it didn't have to delay or cancel flights.

To check flight status, visit www.flydenver.com.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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