New hurricane drama for US passengers

October 10, 2018
Hurricane Michael florida airlines cancllations
Hurricane Michael from space. Photo: NASA.

Just when US flyers thought it was safe to go back into the air, another major storm is threatening the US East Coast after Hurricane Michael reached  Category 3 on Tuesday with 120mph (193kmh) winds.

US experts are saying the hurricane may strengthen to near Category 4 when it makes landfall in the Florida panhandle Wednesday local time.

It is then expected to veer northeast through Georgia and the Carolinas before heading out to sea.

The new storm comes less after a month after the US East Coast was battered by Hurricane Florence, wrecking the plans of thousands of passengers due to flight cancellations.

Read: The numbers game behind Hurricane Florence

Governors in three states have declared an emergency and airlines are waiving change and other fees as the National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall.

American Airlines’ list of affected airports includes: Augusta, Georgia; Destin / Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Florence, South Carolina; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Panama City, Florida; Pensacola, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Tallahassee, Florida.

Delta has a number of the same destinations as well as Albany, Georgia; Dothan, Alabama; and Valdosta, Georgia.

“For a limited time, Delta is waiving all baggage and pet-in-cabin (PETC) fees for travel to and from the cities below likely to be impacted by Hurricane Michael,” Delta said.” This includes piece fees, overweight, and oversize fees”.

The US Federal Aviation Administration ssued an alert Tuesday warning airlines were likely to “cancel many flights in the direct path of the storm and the surrounding areas”.

“Flights that are not canceled may be delayed,” it said.

“Once Hurricane Michael makes ground fall, airports may be listed as “open” but flooding on local roadways may limit access to airports for passengers, as well as the employees who work for the airlines or at the airport.

“As a result, every aspect of your trip to the airport, including parking, checking in, getting through security and boarding may take longer than usual.”

Here are websites for major US airlines: