Hurricane Irma - what now?

Hurricane Irma has now been downgraded to a tropical storm but nearly 12 500 flights were cancelled according to USA Today, and many airports have been affected.

After being closed on Monday, September 11, many Florida airports started to operate limited services from Tuesday, September 12.

The following airports are operating limited services and hope to start full services today, Wednesday, September 13, or by the latest, Friday, September 15:

  • Miami International Airport
  • Key West International Airport
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Daytona International Airport
  • Orlando International Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale International Airport

All the airports advise travellers to confirm their bookings with their airline before heading to the airport. 

Passengers transiting at Atlanta International Airport are encouraged to make alternative plans via waivers on Delta. Delta has combined and consolidated waivers for customers transiting three dozen destinations where flights will be affected by Irma through September 17. Delta has also paused baggage and pet-in-cabin fees for customers travelling to or from impacted cities.

For a more comprehensive list or airports affected and their potential operations resumptions click here.

St Maarten is one airport that was badly affected by the storms and Rolando Brison, St Maarten’s director of tourism, hopes it will reopen to flights within a week says Travel Weekly.

Miami International Airport was closed yesterday, September 11, as a result of Hurricane Irma approaching Florida and the airport enduring gusts of nearly 100mph (161kph). The airport also sustained significant water damage throughout.

In an advisory posted on its Twitter page, the airport said no passenger flights are scheduled at MIA for yesterday (September 11). “After damage assessment, we will determine if passenger flights will resume on Tuesday, September 12,” the airport said.

Orlando International Airport was also closed and will reopen after damage to the airport has been assessed, according to an advisory released on the airport's Twitter page.

American Airlines is allowing affected passengers to change their trips with no change fee as Irma continues to impact its operations in Florida and the Caribbean. The airline issued a travel alert for more than 50 airports, including its Miami hub.

The current travel alert allows customers whose travel plans are impacted by Hurricane Irma to rebook without change fees. Customers can reschedule their travel on by retrieving their reservation, or by contacting American Airlines reservations.

The airline has also capped its fares at US$99 (R1 279) each way for main cabin, and US$199 (R2 572) for premium cabin on direct, single-leg flights from all cities covered under the travel alert in Florida, as well as Charleston, S.C; Hilton Head, S.C.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Savannah, Ga. These fares will apply for flights out of these locations through September 17.

In addition, the $99 fare cap also applies to tickets for those returning to these locations between September 10 and 17.

Many flights are already sold out, thus customers are encouraged to travel to the airport only if they have a confirmed ticket.  

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