Last updated: 12:11 PM ET, Fri March 25 2016

Airlines Respond to The Brussels Bombing

Airlines & Airports | United Airlines | Josh Lew | March 23, 2016

Airlines Respond to The Brussels Bombing

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Belgium’s most important airport was targeted as part of a pair of terror attacks that rocked Brussels Tuesday, affecting air travel well beyond the nation's borders. It is quite common for transatlantic flights to make the crossing to Europe from the United States during the night and arrive on the continent in the early morning, and several U.S.-based legacy carriers had flights either in the air or that had already landed in Brussels at the time of the attack (about 8:15 am). The explosions took place in the departure hall, so none of these early morning arrivals were directly affected.

American Airlines

Soon after the attacks, American Airlines announced that it was going to cancel all flights to Brussels on both Wednesday and Thursday. As of now, the airline is still planning to operate a flight to the Belgian capital from Philadelphia on Friday. However, that is subject to change. American has said that people booked to fly to Brussels through March 29 can now requests a full refund or rebook to another destination without change fees.


United Airlines released a statement that said that it had two flights to Brussels on Tuesday morning: one from Washington that arrived before the blast and another from Newark that was rerouted to a different location where passengers were allowed to disembark. The statement added that the airline was suspending all flights to Brussels until further notice.  

READ MORE: Terror in Brussels: Travel Agents React


Delta also had two flights into Brussels on the morning of the attack. A flight from Atlanta landed without incident, but a second plane from New York was diverted to Amsterdam. Delta also mentioned that the airport in Brussels would remain closed until further notice. 

Change fees waived

As has become common in the aftermath of disasters or disease outbreaks, all the airlines are offering to waive change fees or provide alternate routes to people who had already bought tickets to fly to Brussels. Many of those who were booked to fly before the end of this month qualify for a complete refund without any cancelation penalty.  

AA check-in counter not targeted 

There had been early reports - right after the explosions - that said that one of the two airport bombs went off at an American Airlines check-in counter. American released a statement saying that this report was not true. "At this time there are no reported injuries to our employees. American Airlines check-in operates at row eight of the departure hall, and the explosions did not occur at row eight.”  

READ MORE: Tour Operators Keeping Close Watch After Brussels Attacks

Trains running again soon

Eurostar trains plan to be back up and running on Wednesday after suspending service on Tuesday, so it should hypothetically be possible for people who need to get to Brussels to fly into another airport and then take the train to the city.

Additional security at U.S. airports

Meanwhile, back in the United States, airports are operating under a state of heightened alert. Extra foot patrols, armed guards and explosive-sniffing dogs have been deployed as authorities try to protect against any sort of copycat attack. 

The Brussels Airport will remain closed until further notice, but U.S.-based airlines and their European counterparts are running most other routes as scheduled. There is no definitive statement about when the airport will reopen.


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