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How Hurricane Dorian Is Affecting Travel

By Katherine LaGrave

09.03.19

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Dorian is weakening but still producing winds up to 110 miles per hour.

Photo by Jeff Gammons StormVisuals/Shutterstock

Dorian is weakening but still producing winds up to 110 miles per hour.

As the storm moves toward the United States, airlines and airports are adjusting accordingly.

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Largely due to inclement weather from Dorian, now a Category 3 storm, nearly 3,000 flights in and out of the United States were canceled on Monday and Tuesday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

The storm, which hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane and caused five deaths, has stalled over the archipelago for two days but is finally inching away to the northwest. Forecasters say it is expected to move “dangerously close” to the Florida coast on late Tuesday night through Wednesday evening before continuing along the coast to Georgia and South Carolina, reports the New York Times. To ensure that local governments have ample resources, governors in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida have all declared states of emergency. 

Additionally, as of Tuesday, several airports in Florida have said they are or will be closed: Orlando International Airport, Palm Beach International Airport, Daytona Beach International Airport, and Northeast Florida Regional AirportFort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, which closed at noon EST on Monday, reopened at noon on Tuesday.

Despite expectations about where the storm will go next, even a minor diversion could cause it to turn sharper inwards, bringing Dorian to land. “Although the official forecast does not show Dorian making landfall along the Florida east coast, the increasing size of Dorian’s wind field along with any deviation to the left of the forecast track will bring hurricane-force winds onshore along portions of the Florida east coast,” states a Tuesday morning brief from the National Weather Service. 

Traveling in the next few days? Here’s a brief look at what airlines are offering:

United: For travelers scheduled to fly through/to/from select airports in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina between September 2–7, 2019, change fees and fare differences will be waived as long as the new flight departs by September 14, 2019, and tickets are in the same fare class. For waivers to airports in Florida and the Bahamas, travelers must have original travel dates from August 29 to September 6 and be traveling on a new flight by September 13. You can read United’s full travel notice here.

Delta: For flights to Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Bahamas, Delta is waiving change and cancellation fees for original travel slated to take place from August 30 to September 6. Rebooked travel has to begin no later than September 13, September 15 for Georgia and the Carolinas, and October 5 for the Bahamas. The airline is also waiving any baggage and pet-in-cabin fees for select cities and certain dates. Check out Delta’s full travel alert for Florida here, the Carolinas and Georgia here, and its separate page for waivers to the Bahamas.

American Airlines: For travelers scheduled to fly through/to/from select airports in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina between September 1–7, 2019, change fees and fare differences will be waived as long as the new flight departs by September 15, 2019, and tickets are in the same fare class. For waivers to airports in Florida and the Bahamas, travelers must have original travel dates from August 29 to September 6 and be traveling on a new flight by September 14. Read American’s full travel alert here.

JetBlue: The airline is waiving change and cancellation fees for travelers flying to/from/through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and the Bahamas. Per state, the airline has different rules about when new travel must be completed, so it’s worth checking out the fine print here

Southwest: Southwest doesn’t ever have change fees, but it is waiving the $95 pet fare for travelers flying with small vaccinated domestic dogs or cats to/from select cities in Florida and South Carolina. More information on Southwest’s rebooking policy in the wake of Dorian can be found here

>> Next: What You Need to Know About Travel During Hurricane Season

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