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Read yesterday’s report here.
Over 12,500 flights have been canceled by Hurricane Irma as it wrecks havoc on Florida for the second day. The storm is forecasted to hit Atlanta on Monday morning, messing up another major airline hub in the United States, after hitting Miami and Fort Lauderdale this weekend.
And, the storm isn’t stopping there; forecasters say the storm is expected to travel further up the Atlantic Seaboard, hitting Georgia, parts of South Carolina, and possibly continue north.
Nearly all airports in Florida, save for a few on the panhandle, were shut today as Hurricane Irma covered the state in thunderstorms, high winds, and tornadoes. Schedule boards across the state are covered with canceled flights, and most airports have still yet to announce a re-opening date.
— Orlando Intl Airport (@MCO) September 10, 2017
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is being closed by the FAA tentatively until Tuesday at 12pm, however, passengers are urged to check with their airline for updates.
Sources from Miami say that the airport was buffeted by 100mph winds, and is suffering from “significant water damage throughout”. However, the airport clarified that there is no flooding in the garages. The airport’s re-opening date is unclear; United Airlines is stating that the airport is re-opening at 2pm on Monday, American Airlines and Delta are stating Monday evening, while the airport re-tweeted that the airport is re-opening Tuesday.
Airports are strongly urging passengers to check with their airline and the airport before traveling to the airport. In addition, airports in Miami and Orlando have not been certified as shelters, and people should not travel to the airport without a confirmed reservation.
Delta is already canceling 130 flights operated by Delta Connection due to expected operational limitations on its aircraft. The regional jet aircraft that Delta Connection operates are smaller and more susceptible to wind and other weather than the larger, mainline aircraft that Delta operates.
— Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) September 11, 2017
In all, over 600 flights are being canceled in and out of Atlanta tomorrow. Passengers flying on Delta are urged to avoid the city, and rebook their itinerary through a different Delta hub or re-schedule their travel.
— Delta (@Delta) September 10, 2017
Meanwhile, Savannah Airport operated a limited schedule this afternoon, with a few Delta flights between Atlanta and Savannah operating. In addition, the airport will not be closing its parking structures, however, passengers should contact their airlines for the latest information.
— SAV Airport (@fly_SAV) September 10, 2017
Other airports in Georgia along the seaboard are expected to close, including Valdosta and Albany; airports in South Carolina, Tenessee and Alabama are on high alert.
The U.S. Military was in full rescue mode today, as evacuation flights from St. Maarten took place throughout the day. US citizens are instructed to proceed to the airport tomorrow by 12pm with their passport or other form of ID to be evacuated.
#StMaarten: US citizens in need of evac proceed to airport by 12pm Mon 9/11. Bring passport or other proof of ID. Expect long wait times.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) September 10, 2017
The New York National Guard was assisting with evacuations from St. Maarten, flying its C-130 aircraft from San Juan, Puerto Rico to St. Maarten. The aircraft are usually in use for troop and cargo transport, as well as medical evacuations, however, the aircraft have been used in countless civilian and humanitarian aid operations before.
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) September 10, 2017
However, the U.S. Government is not evacuating citizens from other Caribbean islands. When asked about operations to Turks and Caicos on its twitter, the State Department replied that limited commercial operations were scheduled to start tomorrow, and as a result, no evacuations would take place.
#TurksandCaicos We can’t confirm specific commercial flights. Reports have indicated flights will resume soon. Check w/ airline to confirm.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) September 11, 2017
Meanwhile, airports across the Caribbean are still closed to commercial traffic. Cuba’s airports in Santa Maria and Cayo Coco are closed until Monday morning, while airports in Camaguey, Santa Clara and Varadero are closed until Tuesday morning. Jose Marti International Airport in Havana is closed until at least Tuesday afternoon. In the Bahamas, Freeport and Marsh Harbour airports are closed until Tuesday, and airports in the Turks and Caicos Islands (Providenciales, Grand Turk) are closed until Monday afternoon.
St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is closed through Friday afternoon to commercial traffic. Delta Air Lines is scheduled to operate an aid flight to St. Thomas tomorrow, evacuating passengers on the return leg.
If you are scheduled to fly to or through Florida, Georgia, or the Caribbean within the next week, almost all airlines are offering travel waivers for more than 50 airports in the path of Irma. In addition, airlines are offering travel waivers for specific cities in South Carolina and Alabama.
American Airlines is offering passengers scheduled to travel through September 12th the ability to change their itineraries and travel until September 30th, and is waving some cancellation and change fees from eligible itineraries. Delta is doing the same, however, it is also allowing passengers traveling to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Turks and Caicos the ability to change their itineraries and fly through October 31st. Delta is also waiving fees for carrying pets into the cabin.
— Delta (@Delta) September 9, 2017
JetBlue is allowing passengers to rebook travel originally flying through September 12th for the Caribbean and September 17th for the United States to fly thorough September 27th with no fees, and for passengers to St. Maarten and St. Thomas, the waiver is extended to November 15th.
United Airlines is allowing travelers to inland airports who were scheduled to fly before September 17th to fly through September 30th, while those flying to Florida, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Antigua, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the U.S. Virgin Islands can change their itineraries to fly through November 15th without any extra fees. The airline still has a travel waiver in place for those affected from Harvey.
Frontier Airlines passengers flying before September 13th can make one change to their itinerary, and travel must be completed before October 15th. Spirit Airlines has made a number of allowances that can be viewed here, but the airline was forced to evacuate its main headquarters on Thursday, so beware of long waits for customer service.
Passengers should also be keeping an eye out for Hurricane Jose, however current projections have the hurricane veering away from most of the Caribbean islands towards open ocean.
Featured image by MCO Airport.