Hurricane Dorian Updates-What You Need To Know Before Traveling
“Because of the uncertainty in the track of this storm, every resident along the East Coast needs to be ready,” Jared Moskowitz, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said. The National Hurricane Center predicted that Hurricane Dorian could make landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm, with winds up to 130 miles per hour.
People traveling to and through Florida over what is usually one of the busiest travel weekends of the year should expect delays and cancellations. Those who want to cancel trips should reach out to their airlines, cruises, hotels and tour operators.
Here’s what we know about how the hurricane may affect travel.
As Hurricane Dorian approaches, Orlando International Airport and Daytona Beach International Airport have announced they will be shutting down in the early morning hours of Labor Day. “Daytona Beach International Airport’s terminal will close after the last flight departs Sunday night,” announced an airport press release on Friday. “When weather conditions worsen, the airfield will be open only for emergencies. There will be no flights beginning Monday until further notice.”
News of Daytona Beach International Airport’s upcoming closure follows a similar announcement from its sister airport in Orlando. “Orlando International Airport plans to cease commercial flight operations on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 2 a.m.,” the airport tweeted on Friday afternoon. “The latest update will always be pinned to the top of our page.
In an additional statement posted along with the tweet, the airport wrote that it made the decision “out of an abundance of caution” following a meeting with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority executive leadership and emergency management leaders, airline officials, the FAA, TSA Air Traffic Control Tower representatives and more.
These airlines are offering waivers for changes
Southwest is allowing travelers to the Florida destinations of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, the Bahamas, to “rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel” for no additional fee.
American is waiving the fee for changing flights scheduled through Sept. 3 to and through the Florida destinations of Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota / Bradenton, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Waivers are also being offered for flights to and through Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Martinique.
Delta is waiving the change fee for flights scheduled through Aug. 31 to, from and through Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, and Marsh Harbor and Georgetown in the Bahamas. The airline is also waiving change fees for people traveling to, from and through Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, Valdosta and West Palm Beach through Sept. 4.
Spirit is waiving fees for changes to flights scheduled through Aug. 30 going to, from or through Aguadilla and San Juan, Puerto Rico; Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic; and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Fees for flights to, from or through Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa through Sept. 3 are also being waived.
JetBlue is waiving change and cancel fees and fare differences for customers traveling to and from Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Palm Beach Sunday to Tuesday, Sept. 4. The airline waived change and cancellation fees and fare differences for people traveling to and from Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Thomas through Thursday, Aug. 29.
United is waiving fees for changes to flights and any difference in fare for flights scheduled through Aug. 29 to, from or through Aguadilla and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as Punta Cana. It will also waive the change fee and any difference in flights between Aug. 29 and Sept. 11 for flights to, from and through Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Nassau. “We are closely monitoring the weather situation and encourage our customers to visit united.com or our app for the latest updates and developments,” Rachael Rivas, a spokeswoman for United, said.
Frontier waived the fee for changing flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Punta Cana scheduled between Monday, Aug. 26 and Friday, Aug. 30, as long as tickets were purchased before Sunday, Aug. 25.
Twenty-five ships either at sea or departing in the next few days were affected by the hurricane. Royal Caribbean closed its CocoCay private island on Thursday and said it will reopen on Sept. 4. The cruise line also adjusted a number of its itineraries.
“We are making adjustments to some of our Caribbean routes to ensure the comfort and safety of our guests and crew,” said Melissa Charbonneau, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Norwegian Cruise line canceled calls to Great Stirrup Cay on its Norwegian Sky cruise on Aug. 30 and on its Norwegian Sun cruise on Aug. 31.
Disney Cruise Line changed the itinerary of Disney Fantasy from the eastern Caribbean to a western Caribbean route.
Carnival Cruises said it was evaluating itineraries for the coming days, and adjusted at least seven itineraries to and from ports including Port Canaveral, Fla., Charleston S.C., and Nassau.
Celebrity Cruises said it was “actively monitoring” the development of the hurricane, but had not changed its Celebrity Equinox itinerary.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line canceled its Sept. 1 and 3 departures on its Grand Celebration, but its Aug. 30 cruise is still scheduled to depart as planned.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, a nonprofit hospitality trade association that includes 10,000 restaurant and hotel members, issued a statement encouraging members to waive cancellation fees.
The Walt Disney World Resort, which opened its much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on Thursday, has its own hurricane policy that could go into effect during the storm. If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area within seven days of arrival to Disney, guests can reschedule or cancel. Guests who booked directly through Disney don’t have to pay cancellation or change fees, but those who booked packages that include rental cars and hotels through third parties may have to pay those companies’ cancellation fees.
Airbnb put its extenuating circumstances policy into effect for Florida on Thursday and will allow people with reservations in much of Florida to cancel their stays without penalty through Sept. 1
Walt Disney World And Universal Orlando
Both the Lake Buena Vista-set Disney World and Universal Orlando are hoping for the best but clearly preparing for the worst.
“Walt Disney World Resort is operating under normal conditions,” a company spokesperson said Friday as Dorian picked up steam. “We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather, as nothing is more important than the safety of our guests and Cast Members,” the Disney staffer added, encouraging individuals and already paid-up visitors to visit the Walt Disney World website for more up to date information.
“We are taking precautions including canceling weekend sporting events and closing Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park on Sunday,” the spokesperson also said of the now-shuttered Disney Soccer Showcase Qualifier and Disney Labor Day Baseball Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. “We are also contacting guests with current and upcoming reservations at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to plan for anticipated weather impacts.”
Stay tuned right here as we bring you all of the latest updates for Hurricane Dorian updates and current listings of closures as we get them. Did you have plans to travel this Labor Day Weekend and how did you handle it? What are your best hurricane travel tips?