Tropical Storm Michael Moves Across Carolinas, Flight Disruptions Continue

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, FL. // Photo by AP Photo/Gerald Herbert via Newscred

Tropical Storm Michael is headed across the Carolinas, causing some flight cancellations to persist through Thursday. The storm has also caused at least two deaths and widespread damage.

According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, the storm currently has maximum sustained winds near 50 mph, with little change in strength expected Thursday as it continues to move across central South Carolina Thursday morning. The storm is then expected to move across central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia Thursday afternoon and evening before heading out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Washington Post reports that a second death has been reported from the storm, which made landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 hurricane – the strongest such storm on record to hit the area. The storm has also knocked out power to more than 754,000 households across the southeastern United States and caused widespread damage.

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According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a number of airports are still closed due to the storm. Apalachicola Regional Airport is set to reopen October 12, while Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, Bob Sikes Airport, Dothan Regional Airport, Destin Executive Airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Middle Georgia Regional Airport and Northern Peninsula Airport are all set to reopen throughout the day on October 11.

Air Travel Updates

Several major airlines have issued flight change waivers due to the storm.

Guests scheduled to fly on American Airlines through October 11 can rebook through October 14 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference). Guests can also delay their trip after October 14 within one year of their original ticket date, but a difference in fare will apply. 

Delta is allowing guests set to fly through October 11 to rebook through October 14, with the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date.

United Airlines is allowing guests scheduled to fly through October 11 to rebook through October 18 in the originally ticketed cabin and between the original city pair. Guests can also rebook after October 18 within one year of the date the ticket was issued, or change their departure or destination city, but a difference in fare may apply.

Frontier Airlines is allowing guests scheduled to fly through October 11 to rebook through October 31. Origin and destination cities may be changed.

On JetBlueguests scheduled to fly October 11 - 12 through Atlanta, Charleston, Jacksonville and Savannah to rebook through October 16. 

Cruise Updates

A number of cruise lines have made itinerary adjustments to avoid the path of Hurricane Michael.

A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line tells Travel Agent that the Carnival Triumph, which departed New Orleans Tuesday, reversed its port calls, stopping on Wednesday in Yucatan (Progreso) and Thursday in CozumelCarnival Glory, which is currently sailing a seven-day Caribbean itinerary that left Miami on Saturday, canceled its call in Grand Cayman on Tuesday and remained at sea. Carnival Freedom, which departed Saturday from Galveston on a seven-day Caribbean cruise, cancelled its call in Mahogany Bay Monday and remained at sea. The ship called in Cozumel Tuesday and Belize on Wednesday. Carnival Victory, which departed Monday from Miami on a four-day cruise, reversed its order of port calls, spending a day at sea Tuesday and visiting Key West on Thursday. Wednesday’s stop in Cozumel remained unchanged. Carnival Miracle, which departed Tampa on Sunday, canceled its planned call in Cozumel. Carnival Paradise, currently on a five-day cruise out of Tampa, reversed its scheduled port calls, calling at Cozumel Wednesday and Grand Cayman on Thursday.

Norwegian Cruise Line modified the Norwegian Getaway’s itinerary to call in Falmouth, Jamaica, on October 9 and Grand Cayman on October 10 before returning to its regularly scheduled route.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean tells Travel Agent that the cruise line is monitoring the path of the storm and will advise guests and travel partners of any itinerary changes.

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