Many Florida airports remained closed Thursday, and numerous flights were canceled as Tropical Storm Ian continued to hammer the state. Those that have stayed open were dealing with delays as well as cancellations.
Nearly 2,000 U.S. flights were canceled Thursday, with the highest numbers across Florida, according to Flight Aware, which tracks flight status in real time. Travel through parts of Georgia and the Carolinas was also impacted as the storm moved north.
Travelers were urged to check their flight status before any flight and rebook through their respective airlines. Some airlines have set deadlines for making changes or completing trips, but all travelers whose flights were canceled are eligible for refunds, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Here’s what travelers should know about Florida’s airports and various airline waiver policies amid Tropical Storm Ian.
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►Are airports in Florida closed? Status updates
Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
All Thursday flights were canceled and the airport terminal was closed, the airport said via Twitter. Travelers were urged to contact their airlines to rebook. Updates are available through @JAXairport on Twitter and the airport’s website.
Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB)
The airport shut down Wednesday afternoon and will reopen to passengers at 6 a.m. on Friday. “Following a comprehensive damage assessment, MLB will safely reopen and return to normal operations at 6am on Friday, September 30,” the airport said on Twitter. “We have notified our airline partners of our plans to reopen and passengers are asked to contact their airline directly for flight status updates.” For more information, check Melbourne Orlando International Airport’s Twitter page @FlyMLB or website.
Tampa International Airport (TPA)
The airport’s operators planned to reopen the airfield at 10 a.m. Friday. “Airport maintenance and operations staff inspected the airfield and facilities this morning and determined TPA did not sustain any serious damage during the storm,” a statement said. “Friday’s 10 a.m. reopening for departing and arriving flights will give the airport and its partners such as the FAA, the TSA, airlines, and others time to take necessary steps for the safe resumption of business.” Check @FlyTPA on Twitter or the airport’s website for the latest operational updates.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)
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Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)
Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
The airport closed Tuesday night and remained so. Travelers were urged to rebook flights through their respective airlines. More details can be found on the airport’s Facebook page @flyRSW and website.
Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
The airport is open, but travelers were urged to check with their airlines for cancellations or delays before heading there. Additional updates may be found on Palm Beach International Airport’s Twitter page @flyPBI and website.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
The airport was open, but some flights had been canceled or delayed. Travelers should check with their airlines first. More information can be found on Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Twitter page @FLLFlyer and website.
Miami International Airport (MIA)
The airport is open, but a number of flights have been canceled or delayed, so travelers should check flight status with their airline before heading out. For more updates, check Miami International Airport’s Twitter page @iflymia or website.
► Travel waivers by airline
Passengers flying to or from Miami International, Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International, Southwest Florida International, Tampa International, and Orlando International airports can participate in the airlines’ flexible travel policy to change or cancel their flights, according to the airline’s website. Cash refunds are available only on refundable tickets or flights that the airline canceled. Customers who purchase nonrefundable tickets will be issued future travel credits valid for one year if they opt to cancel their trips. Rebooked travel that takes place on or before Oct. 8 through the same airports will be exempt from fare difference charges.
Allegiant Air expects flights to Florida destinations to be disrupted through Friday. Travelers whose flights are impacted must call 702-505-8888 to change their flight for no additional cost. Customers whose flights were canceled will receive automatic refunds within 72 hours of cancelation notification, according to the airline.
American Airlines will allow passengers whose plans were affected by Hurricane Ian to rebook without change fees or save the flight credit for future travel up to a year from the original ticketed travel dates. Travelers whose flights were canceled are eligible for refunds. Exact rebooking policies vary by airport, so check with the airline to see which rules apply.
American’s policies cover travelers heading to, from and though much of Florida, as well as parts of Georgia and the Carolinas. The airline said it also added reduced, last-minute fares to help people evacuate by air, including waiving checked bag fees for two pieces of luggage and lifting limits and fees for carry-on pets.
Delta Air Lines
Travelers flying to destinations in Florida and parts of Georgia and South Carolina through Friday will have the change fee and fare difference waived for rebooked travel that happens on or before Oct. 3, according to Delta’s website. Travel after Oct. 3 will still see the change fee waived, but fare difference charges will apply.
Passengers flying to Southwest Airlines’ Florida destinations through Sunday can change their departure/origin to another Florida city without additional charge, according to the airline’s website. They can also rebook their flight within 14 days of the original date of travel for no extra fee. The airline also extended that flexibility to passengers traveling to Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Spirit passengers with flights booked to, from or through Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando or Tampa through Friday and who push their travel to occur on or before Oct. 3 will see their fare difference and change fees waived, according to Spirit’s website. For rebooked travel that occurs after Oct. 3, the change fee will still be waived, but fare differences will apply. Spirit will also allow customers booked to travel to or from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on or before Oct. 2 to travel on or before Oct. 9 without paying fare differences or change fees. Rebooked travel to or from Myrtle Beach that occurs after Oct. 9 will still see the change fee waived, but fare differences will apply.
Travelers who had planned to travel to United’s Florida destinations through Friday can rebook their flight to occur between now and Oct. 8 and have any fare difference and change fee waived so long as the new flights use the same airports, according to United’s website. A similar policy is also in effect for some of the airline’s destinations in the Carolinas and Georgia. The original tickets for those airports should be for travel on or before Oct. 3, and the new itinerary must occur on or before Oct. 10 to avoid change fees and paying fare differences.