Three powerful storms are disrupting travel this week: Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Isaac in the Atlantic, and Tropical Storm Olivia near Hawaii.
Hurricane Florence is headed toward the southeastern coast of the United States, prompting a hurricane watch for an area ranging from Edisto Beach in South Carolina to the North Carolina – Virginia border, as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. The storm, which currently has maximum sustained winds of around 130 mph, is expected to strengthen further as it moves over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday, approaching the coast of North or South Carolina Thursday as an extremely dangerous major hurricane.
Tropical Storm Isaac, meanwhile, is expected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean on Thursday. The storm has maximum sustained winds near 70 mph, and it is expected to be at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.
In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia is forecast to begin moving over portions of the main Hawaiian Islands late tonight and into Wednesday. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds near 65 mph, and, while it is expected to weaken gradually during the next 48 hours, it is forecast to remain a tropical storm as it moves over Hawaii. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Oahu, Maui County – including the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe – and Hawaii County, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Niihau.
Air Travel Updates and Change Waivers
A number of airlines are warning that the storms will disrupt flights, and they have issued change waivers for affected customers.
American Airlines warns that Hurricane Florence will disrupt travel through its Charlotte hub, as well as other airports in the southeastern United States. Customers set to fly through September 16 can rebook through September 19 and/or change their origin or destination to another city affected by this alert. Customers set to fly through the Caribbean through September 14 can rebook through September 17 between the same city pair, while customers set to fly through Hawaii through September 13 can rebook through September 16 between the same city pair. In all cases customers must rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference.
Delta is allowing customers scheduled to fly through affected airports in the Caribbean September 13 – 14 to rebook through September 19, and travelers set to fly through Hawaii September 11 – 12 to rebook through September 15.
On United Airlines, customers flying through the southeastern United States through September 16 can rebook through that date between the same city pair in the originally ticketed cabin. They can also rebook after September 20, or change their departure or destination city, in which case the change fee will be waived but a difference in fare may apply. In Hawaii, customers flying through September 13 can rebook through September 17 between the same city pair in the originally ticketed cabin.
Southwest Airlines is allowing customers flying through the southeastern United States through September 17, or through the Caribbean through September 14, to rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel.
On JetBlue, travelers scheduled to fly through the southeastern United States September 13 – 15 can rebook through September 20.
Hawaiian Airlines is allowing customers set to fly through Hawaii through September 13 to rebook through September 20, or after September 21 with a difference in fare.
Major cruise lines are also rerouting ships due to the storms.
Carnival Cruise Line has revised the itineraries for both the Carnival Pride and the Carnival Horizon. On Carnival Pride’s September 9 sailing out of Baltimore, instead of stopping at Bermuda September 12 – 14, the ship will call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport, the Bahamas. Carnival Horizon, which is on an eight-day sailing out of New York that departed September 5, cancelled Sunday’s planned call in San Juan, and it will move Monday’s planned call at Amber Cove to Tuesday. The ship will return to New York as planned September 13.
Carnival has also modified Monday’s eight-day Caribbean sailing on Carnival Vista out of Miami. To avoid Tropical Depression Nine, the ship will sail a reversed itinerary, calling on St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan and Amber Cove before returning to Miami September 16.
Royal Caribbean reports that it has modified Grandeur of the Seas’ September 8 sailing, replacing its planned call in Bermuda with a call in Nassau, the Bahamas.
Norwegian Cruise Line has modified itineraries for both the Norwegian Escape and the Norwegian Dawn. On Norwegian Escape’s September 9 itinerary out of New York City, the ship will call in Port Canaveral, Florida, and Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas to avoid Hurricane Florence's path, instead of calling in Bermuda as planned. On Norwegian Dawn’s September 7 itinerary out of Boston, the ship will call in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; St. John, New Brunswick; and Bar Harbor, Maine, instead of calling in Bermuda.
A spokesperson for Oceania Cruises reports that the luxury line has modified Sirena's September 7 itinerary to bypass the ship's Bermuda call, which had been scheduled for September 12 and 13. Instead, the ship will call at Nassau on September 15, before returning to Miami the next day. Oceania has also modified Insignia’s September 7 itinerary out of Halifax to stay north of Hurricane Florence’s forecast track, with revised ports of call in New Brunswick, Maine, and New York instead of Bermuda.