Hurricane Ian to Upset Travel in the Sunshine State
Airlines Safety

Hurricane Ian to Upset Travel in the Sunshine State

DALLAS – As the strengthened category 3 Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, airlines are preparing for impact.

Hurricane Ian strengthened to a Category 3 storm on Tuesday morning, according to the latest storm update, and is scheduled to make landfall in Cuba on its path to Florida.  With gusty winds and a storm surge, Ian is expected to make landfall in the Sunshine State by midday Thursday, September 29, 2022. 

Given the potential for severe weather conditions, airports and airlines in Florida have released operational plans and travel advisories ahead of impact. The FAA advises all passengers with flights involving Florida to closely monitor advisories released by their airlines. Here we provide a few updates so far.

Photo: TPA

Airline Updates from Major US Carriers

  • Air Canada (AC): A goodwill policy was created for passengers who wish to alter their travel arrangements free of charge, space permitting, on other flights. Operations may be impacted at MCO and Tampa International Airport (TPA), which has already announced a suspension of its operations.
  • American Airlines (AA): Customers will receive a change fee waiver for the following: if you are traveling to/from cities listed on the advisory board, your ticket was purchased by September 23, 2022, and you are scheduled to travel between September 23 and October 1, 2022, rebooking in the same cabin (or pay the difference), and the origin and destination city remain the same. These changes must be made by October 1, 2022.
  • Delta Air Lines (DL): A travel waiver will be issued to customers who are booked for destinations in Ian’s path, with flights booked between September 25 and September 30, 2022. Delta will waive any fare difference when rebooked travel occurs on or before October 3, 2023, in the same cabin of service as originally booked. If travel is rebooked after October 3, 2022, any difference in fare between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking.
  • Jetblue Airways (B6): Issues waivers on change/cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling between September 26 and September 30, 2022, to or from cities listed on the advisory notice. Original travel must be booked on or before September 25, 2022.
  • Southwest Airlines (WN): The airline will allow customers traveling to/from the affected areas flexibility with their travel plans this week (changes without fees within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs). Southwest is also allowing customers with existing reservations to/from/through the list of airports on their website to rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel) without paying any additional charge.
  • Spirit Airlines (NK): a Flexible Travel Policy is in effect for certain flights likely impacted by Hurricane Ian if the flight is between September 27 and September 30, 2022. The fare difference is waived if travel is rebooked with travel by October 3, 2022. After this date, the modification charge is waived, but a fare difference is applied.
  • United Airlines (UA): United Airlines anticipates canceling operations between September 28 and September 29, 2022, for a variety of Florida airports (including MCO).

Other airlines, such as Alaska Airlines (AS), have adopted a flexible travel policy as severe weather approaches the state. Airports in Florida have also begun to make arraignments and release notices for both passengers and airlines.

Airways continues to monitor all updates and changes and will provide updates for readers as Ian closes in.

Have you ever been curious about a commercial flight flying above a hurricane? Here is your answer.

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From residing in the Caribbean, Tarik has developed an interest in studying how developing nations benefit from the presence of the aviation industry through tourism, trade, and other linkages. Based in Jamaica.

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