More flights canceled as Florence moves through Carolinas
More than 1,200 flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been canceled as a result of the storm that came ashore as Hurricane Florence, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.com. That’s in addition to more than 600 cancellations Thursday.
Operations at many airports along the coast remain suspended as the storm, downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon, slowly moves through the Carolinas.
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. ET Friday near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, east of Wilmington.
Service at Wilmington International Airport was suspended Wednesday and was expected to remain halted through Friday, FlightAware said. Operations at airports in New Bern, Fayetteville and Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were also expected to remain suspended through Friday.
Charleston International Airport, where runways closed on Wednesday, was expected to be open Saturday and officials said they were hoping to resume commercial air service at noon, according to an update Friday afternoon on the airport’s website.
Hundreds of miles inland in North Carolina, Charlotte Douglas and Raleigh-Durham international airports have seen some of the most significant cancellation numbers, with more than 450 across the two airports Friday, according to FlightAware figures.
Despite the cancellations, Charlotte Douglas was expected to remain open as the storm moved inland. FlightAware said the airport has one runway that can be used for takeoffs and landings during strong crosswinds.
Airlines have extended waivers and advisories for travelers with itineraries involving airports in the path of the storm.
Carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines have all posted information for travelers online about fee-free changes to affected itineraries this week.
All four major US airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost. Last year, some airlines caught flack because of high fares in advance of Hurricane Irma.
Rail and cruise ship travel have also been affected by the dangerous storm.
Amtrak modified East Coast service on a number of routes from Wednesday through Sunday. Many routes in the affected areas have been canceled or will operate on modified schedules during some or all of that period.
Amtrak will waive charges for reservation changes for the affected period and routes. Call the reservations center at 800-USA-RAIL.
Some cruise ships have rerouted ships or delayed sailings this week due to the storm, according to the website CruiseCritic.com.