Hundreds of flights are canceled as Hurricane Idalia disrupts air travel
Several airports are closed, including Tampa, St. Pete-Clearwater, and Tallahassee, according to the Federal Aviation Authority. They could reopen on Thursday, depending on damage assessments. Sarasota’s airport reopened Wednesday morning.
Flight tracking website FlightAware shows that Southwest Airlines’ schedule is the most affected, with 220 cancellations and 300 delays. United, Delta and American Airlines are also impacted, with about 700 delays combined and roughly 330 cancellations.
Although about one in every six flights nationwide touches a Florida airport, airlines appeared to have successfully isolated the impacts and prevented a domino meltdown so far. The major carriers each canceled fewer than 5% of their flights as of Wednesday morning.
The impact to travelers would be shifting northward as the day went on, officials noted. The FAA warned of potential disruptions in Charlotte, North Carolina, an American Airlines hub.
Several airlines, including Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and United, have issued advisories to passengers traveling to airports in Idalia’s path, allowing passengers to make changes for free within an allotted time.
Idalia made landfall just before 8 am ET near Keaton Beach in Florida’s Big Bend region as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, with even higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center.
On Tuesday, Amtrak canceled several trains and modified routes in advance of the hurricane.
The rail line so far canceled 12 East Coast routes for Tuesday and Wednesday that originate or terminate in the Orlando and Miami areas. Those routes are the Auto Train, Silver Star and Silver Meteor.
Amtrak also shortened Palmetto routes for Tuesday and Wednesday. That train, which typically runs from New York to Savannah, Georgia, will go only as far south as Washington, DC.
Five flights were canceled Wednesday at the Indianapolis Airport and 15 were delayed.