As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida’s Sarasota County, some Florida airports have announced closures, and airlines are offering travel waivers for those impacted.
Travelers planning to fly to and from Florida have likely already had their travel plans disrupted by the incoming storm. Over 1,200 flights slated for Tuesday and Wednesday have been canceled due to the anticipated hurricane, according to flight-tracking site Flightaware.com.
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The Category 3 storm hit Cuba earlier Tuesday with 125-mph winds, with some saying the storm could reach Category 4 status with sustained winds of up to 156 mph.
At a White House briefing, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said the entire state will likely be affected by heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and power outages this week.
“Floridians are going to experience the impacts of this storm for a very long time,” she said.
Here are the local airport closures and airline travel waivers in anticipation of Hurricane Ian.
Some airports remain operational while others have announced closures, however, all airports encourage passengers to check with their airlines on flight statuses and updates first.
► Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): On Tuesday afternoon, the airport said it remains operational as it monitors the hurricane. Check Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Twitter page @FLLFlyer for updates.
► Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB): The airport says itclosed at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. For updates, check Orlando Melbourne International Airport’s Twitter page @FlyMLB, or Facebook page @FlyMLB, or visit mlbair.com.
► Miami International Airport (MIA): On Tuesday morning, the airport said it will remain open and that flight operations are determined by the FAA and individual airlines. For updates, check Miami International Airport’s Twitter page @iflymia.
► Orlando International Airport (MCO): The airport said it will cease operations Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in preparation for Hurricane Ian’s impact. For updates, check Orlando International Airport’s Twitter page @MCO or Facebook page @flyMCO.
► Palm Beach International Airport (PBI): The airport is closely monitoring the storm’s progress and operations are running normally, according to a tweet from Tuesday morning. Check updates for Palm Beach International Airport on its Twitter page @flyPBI.
► Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ): The airport will close Tuesday at 8 p.m., and all flight operations will be suspended after the last departure at 6 p.m. More updates can be found on the airport’s Twitter page @SRQAirport.
► Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW): On Tuesday, the airport announced all flight operations for Wednesday and many for Thursday are canceled. Find updates on the airport’s Facebook page @flyRSW.
► St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE): The airport closed at 1 p.m. Tuesday due to mandatory evacuation orders from Pinellas County that went into effect Monday evening and will remain so until the order is lifted. Find more updates on St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport’s Twitter page @iflypie.
► Tampa International Airport (TPA): All operations at TPA have been suspended since Tuesday evening for the airport to prepare airfields and terminals, according to an announcement on its website. Check @FlyTPA on Twitter for the latest operational updates.
► Alaska Airlines: Passengers flying to or from Miami International, Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International, Southwest Florida International, Tampa International, and Orlando International airport can participate in the airlines’ flexible travel policy to change or cancel their flight, its website said. Flights must have been purchased on or before Sunday, and the original travel dates must be between Sunday and Friday. The new travel dates must be between Sunday and Oct. 8.
► Allegiant Air: Allegiant Air said flights in the Florida area until Friday will likely be disrupted, and people can change their flight for a later date at no additional cost. For those whose Allegiant Air flight was canceled, the airline will automatically refund payment within 72 hours of the cancelation notice.
► Delta Air Lines: Travelers flying to destinations in Florida through Friday will have the fare difference waived when they rebook their travel plans on or before Oct. 3, according to a travel advisory posted on its website on Tuesday. Travel rebooked after Oct. 3 will have to pay a fare difference.
► Spirit Airlines: Spirit passengers flying to, from or through Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando or Tampa have until Oct. 3 to rebook their flight and have their fare difference waived. according to its website.
► American Airlines: On Monday, American Airlines announced it will allow passengers whose flying plans are affected by Hurricane Ian, like in the western Caribbean and Florida, to rebook without any change fees. The airline said it also added reduced, last-minute fares to help those who want to evacuate by air, including waiving checked bag fees for two bags and lifting limits and fees for carry-on pets.
► Southwest Airlines: Passengers flying to Southwest Airlines’ Florida destinations between now and Sunday can change their departure/origin to another Florida city without any additional charge, an announcement on its website said. They can also rebook their flight (within 14 days of the original date of travel) for no extra fee.
► United Airlines: People who purchased a flight to or from United Airlines’ Florida destinations by Sept. 23 to fly before Friday can rebook their flight between now and Oct. 8 and have any fare difference and change fee waived, according to its website.
► Virgin Atlantic Airlines: The airline is offering people who purchased tickets before Sept. 25 to fly to its Florida destinations between Sept. 25 and Friday to rebook without any change fees or fare differences, according to its website. The new travel must be completed by Oct. 3.