Hurricane Idalia has yet to make landfall, but the storm is already creating headaches for air travelers.
Airlines are rolling out flexible rebooking policies and canceling hundreds of flights across Florida and the Southeast as the storm nears the U.S. coastline.
At least four airports with commercial airline service had plans to suspend flights by Tuesday evening, with more disruptions possible ahead of Idalia’s expected landfall Wednesday morning.
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More than 500 flights had been canceled across the U.S. as of 4 p.m. EDT, with the vast majority of those in Florida ahead of Idalia, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.
At Tampa International Airport (TPA), which halted all flights at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, more than 190 departures and 185 arrivals were canceled Tuesday. Tallahassee International Airport (TLH), St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) were other airports that announced plans to halt flights by Tuesday evening.
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Delays were already piling up for Wednesday, a combination of airport closures and preemptive cancellations from airlines wanting to keep their crews and planes out of the storm’s path.
More than 565 flights Wednesday had been canceled nationwide as of 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, underscoring how Idalia was already creating disruptions for air travelers.
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Another two dozen flights had already been grounded for Thursday, spreading a smattering of cancellations across airports like Tampa, Tallahassee and Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) in Florida, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) in Georgia and Charleston International Airport (CHS) in South Carolina.
Those cancellation counts are likely to grow if Idalia tracks across North Florida into Georgia and the Carolinas, as forecast.
With most carriers having added flexible rebooking policies, travelers with plans to travel to Florida this week might want to consider changing their travel dates to avoid the storm.
This is a developing story and will be updated into Wednesday as the storm advances.