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hurricane harvey

Southwest Airlines flew stranded travelers out of Houston for free

Catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey has put most of Houston's non-boat transportation options at a standstill, Houston Hobby Airport included. Hundreds of travelers were stranded at the airport over the weekend after the storm grounded all flights, but about 500 passengers made it out Sunday night when Southwest Airlines conducted five emergency rescue flights to Dallas.

Southwest is the primary airline operating out of Houston Hobby, the city's smaller of two commercial airports. The airline loaded customers into five of its stranded Boeing 737s and flew out Sunday evening, making sure to depart before sunset as the airport had no functional runway lights to guide takeoff.

Southwest still has 10 planes on the ground at Houston Hobby, but a tweeted announcement Sunday evening suggested more humanitarian flights would not be possible Monday and Tuesday. It is unclear how many travelers remain stranded at the airport, or when normal commercial flights will resume.