Have you been affected by Hurricane Irma? Tell us your story at layoverhub@gmail.com.

Read our September 10th update for the most recent information.

Just on the heels of Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Irma has already begun to disrupt air traffic around the Southern United States and the Caribbean. Irma has already caused thousands of cancellations, destroyed tens of airfields and looks to hit even the world’s busiest airport — Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — next week.

Florida

Operations ground to a halt at one of the United States’ busiest aviation hubs, when the last flight out of Miami departed at 9:50pm on Friday night. The airport’s schedule has been wiped clean until at least Sunday night, with further cancellations expected if Irma hits Miami hard. Over 1500 flights were canceled today and tomorrow out of Miami, and another 800 flights are expected to be canceled Monday. Limited operations are expected to resume Tuesday.

Miami isn’t the only airport affected by the storm; Fort Lauderdale is cancelling almost 2000 flights until Tuesday at 12pm as well, and both of Orlando’s airports are ceasing or have ceased operations indefinitely. MCO is canceling around 900 flights over the next two days, and that number is expected to double through Monday and Tuesday.

Tampa, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, will cease operations tonight at 8pm until at least Monday evening, while Jacksonville, close to the Florida/Georgia state border, will cease operations at 9pm until Monday as well. USA Today created a list with nearly every commercial airport in Florida and when the airports are shutting down operations; read it here.

Over the past few days, airlines have added tens of thousands of seats to Florida, attempting to evacuate customers as fast as possible. Delta even sent two Boeing 747-400s down to Orlando to evacuate around 800 passengers, and said that the flight was its “final final” Boeing 747 domestic flight, after the airline’s “final” Boeing 747 domestic flight between Los Angeles and Detroit earlier this week.

Airlines also moved to cap prices on routes, with American Airlines capping fares at $99, JetBlue at $159 and Delta/United at $399. However, amid these measures, consumers have complained about paying thousands of dollars to evacuate, saying that these measures did not play out when actually booking flights.

Georgia

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is the first airport to close in Georgia in anticipation of Irma’s arrival. The last flight, JetBlue 1042 to New York JFK left around 7:15pm, and the airport is scheduled to be closed until at least Monday.

However, Delta Air Lines has already notified passengers with itineraries connecting through Atlanta on Monday that they should change their itineraries to avoid doing so, as the airport is expecting to be hit by Irma and could potentially cancel thousands of flights. Travelers going through Atlanta up until September 17th can have certain fees waived for changing their tickets.

Caribbean

Airports across the Caribbean are closed in the wake of Irma and the destruction that the hurricane caused to their airfields. Photos of the damage to St. Maarten’s famous airport and beach have flooded social media, and the airfield has been closed. The U.S. Military has evacuated 500 Americans from the island to Puerto Rico starting yesterday night, using Lockheed C-130 aircraft. Meanwhile, the Dutch Military is evacuating tourists from St. Maarten, Saba and Statia, while using the same aircraft to bring aid supplies to affected communities.

In the Bahamas, Freeport (re-opening Tuesday), North Eleuthera (re-opening tonight), and Marsh Harbour (re-opening Sunday afternoon) are currently closed, and in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Providenciales and Grand Turk are both closed until Sunday at 12pm, however the airport at Providenciales was completely underwater as of Friday afternoon.

In Cuba, Camaguey, Jardines del Rey and Santa Maria are closed until Monday at 8am.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, St Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport is open, however, the airport on St. Thomas is still closed due to relief efforts and will be closed until next Friday evening. However, the airport was pretty hard hit, according to local reports.

Puerto Rico’s San Juan Airport is still open, and is currently the center of the U.S. Military’s relief efforts.

What’s Next?

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.

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.

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.

Have you been affected by Hurricane Irma? Tell us your story at layoverhub@gmail.com. Featured image by Miami International Airport via Twitter.

Categories: Flyer Talk