As Hurricane Irma heads towards Florida, leaving devastation in its track across the Caribbean, airports and airlines are preparing for the storm, expected to hit the Florida coast sometime on Sunday.
Miami International Airport, the state’s busiest, said it is anticipating high volumes of passengers on Friday and recommended arriving at the airport at least two hours before departure. Flight cancellations are expected and passengers should contact their airline for flight information.
Orlando International Airport said it continues to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, with at least 41 scheduled flights cancelled for Friday and 86 on Saturday. MCO said it will cease commercial operations at 5pm (17:00) Saturday, prior to the storm’s arrival.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport will be closed Saturday and Sunday, with the last flight departing at 7.45pm (19:45) Friday. FLL urged passengers to contact their airline for current flight status.
Palm Beach Airport advised passengers to check with their airline for flight updates.
American Airlines, which has a significant presence in the area affected by the hurricane, said it was cancelling more than 2,200 flights, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, West Palm Beach and other services affected.
Delta has cancelled 350 flights over the weekend and will restart operations in southern Florida sometime Monday when airports reopen after damage evaluations are completed. The airline is using larger aircraft and adding 24 additional flights, providing more than 5,000 extra seats to allow passengers to leave areas liable to be affected by the storm.
JetBlue will waive fees and fare increases for customers with reservations on specific flights. Passengers are urged not to travel to the airport unless they have checked their flight is operating.
Southwest said it was cancelling all flights from Friday evening until at least Sunday to/from Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and West Palm Beach. Orlando services will be suspended from late Saturday afternoon to at least Sunday. Tampa flights will be cancelled from Saturday evening to at least Sunday. Flights to/from Jacksonville will be cancelled after the first departures on Sunday morning until conditions permit service to resume.