Hurricane Matthew didn’t unleash its full fury on South Florida as expected, but is it possible to fly in or out of Florida airports now?
You will still have difficulty flying in and out of some major Florida airports on Friday, October 7 as some airports remain closed (like the airports in Orlando and Jacksonville), and hundreds of flights are cancelled at others (that’s the case in Miami). However, some airports are open, such as the airports in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. Even there, though, you might see some delayed or cancelled flights, so it’s important to check with your individual airline.
More than 2 million people were urged to evacuate Florida. However, according to CNN, the hurricane is brushing the coast and hasn’t caused the major damage inland that some feared, although people are still urged to take great caution as officials worry about flooding and want people to stay inside.
By Thursday afternoon, flight cancellations had risen to 2,700 between both Wednesday and Thursday, with American Airlines cancelling the most, said ABC. Some flights were cancelled on Friday also, as air travel remains uncertain at some airports and impossible at others.
Here’s what you need to know, as of Friday October 7:
Orlando International Airport
Although it has not sustained major damage, the Orlando airport is closed on Friday. All Friday flights at Orlando are cancelled. The airport expects to reopen for flights on the morning of Saturday, October 8.
The airport first closed at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 6.
The airport said Thursday morning that there had been a “Total of 185 cancellations (111 inbound) so far today.” By early evening, the airport reported 200 cancellations.
The airport said that passengers should check directly with airlines and added that “it is anticipated that flight operations will resume Saturday, October 8, subject to the ability to clean up and staff availability.” The airport is not a shelter.
Individual airlines make the decisions on flight schedules and cancellations, said the airport.
Miami International Airport
The Miami airport is open on Friday, October 7, but it is operating at limited capacity. The airport reported Friday that 305 flights were cancelled for Friday. Thus, you should check with your airline.
The Miami airport had “technically” remained open on Thursday, according to its Twitter page, however hundreds of flights have been cancelled since the hurricane headed toward Florida. By 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the airport announced it was ceasing all flights. The airport was back up and running Friday, but not at full capacity.
The airport wrote on Thursday morning that 646 flights were cancelled that day alone. Flights don’t operate in heavy winds. On Thursday morning, the airport noted, “Currently, 341 arrivals & 305 departures are canceled at MIA, which is about 90% of our daily flight schedule.”
Fort Lauderdale International Airport
The Fort Lauderdale airport was open on Friday. Originally, the airport was expected to reopen at 11 a.m. Friday, but it opened several hours earlier.
The airport also noted:
The Fort Lauderdale airport initially closed at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. According to ABC News, “Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has closed its doors — the first time at this airport since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.” ABC says that, once the airport reopens, there will be time needed for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) “to sanitize and re-certify the airport since there will be minimal, if any, security while it’s closed.”
However, the airport is back open. Still, you should check with your airline carrier because some airlines are not resuming service until Saturday.
One reporter wrote on Twitter that the Fort Lauderdale airport resembled a “ghost town” on Thursday.
Jacksonville International Airport
All flights have been cancelled for Friday at the Jacksonville airport.
The airport had remained open on Thursday morning, but the airport was warning passengers of possible flight delays and cancellations and suggesting checking with your airline. Things worsened Friday, and the airport is now closed.
The airport advises you to check with your airline to rebook.
Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport reported that the airport was open on Friday, but there were some cancellations. The biggest issues arise when trying to fly from or to other Florida airports experiencing closures.
The airport also reported 23 cancelled flights on Thursday and some delays, writing on Twitter, “We’re seeing a small number of delays and 23 cancelled flights, most of which are to/from FL airports.”
Check with your airline to make sure your flight is not cancelled if you are traveling into or out of Tampa, as the airports do not determine that.
Southwest Florida International Airport
RSW (Southwest Florida International Airport) in Fort Myers was not reporting any issues.
Even on Thursday, the airport reported that only two flights were cancelled because of the hurricane.
Palm Beach Airport
The Palm Beach Airport was closing at noon Thursday by some reports on social media. However, the airport’s social media page did not contain that information.
ABC News said the airport was technically remaining open, but commercial flights were halted.
Some airlines, like Delta, have cancelled flights into Palm Beach, ABC said. Check with your airline before trying to fly in or out of Palm Beach.
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