Major US airlines are halting their operations in the Caribbean islands and Florida as Ian develops into a hurricane and thrashes in Cuba. The hurricane which is still marked as category 3 is rapidly gaining strength and is feared to become category 4 before its landfall on Florida today.
American Airlines (AAL) has already issued a travel alert on 20 airports that are in the landfall zones of the hurricane. AA will also arrange for last minute flights for people wanting to evacuate by air for reduced costs. The company is also waiving off checked bags fee for up to two bags on certain locations and waiving fees for carry-on pets from the affected locations. Those who would not fly due to the calamity will be allowed to reschedule their flights without any additional charges.
Another major airline, Delta Airlines (DAL), have updated on their website that the there will be no flights from Tampa International Airport (TPA), Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), from Tuesday evening. Flights will also not operate from Orlando International Airport (MCO) from Wednesday. All operations are expected to resume from Friday, depending on the conditions. The airlines is expected to operate on other locations depending on the weather. However, the company has urged the passengers to keep checking the website or mobile application for updates on their flights.
Southwest Airlines (LUV) issued updates on its website saying that it will suspend operations in Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Orlando and Havana, Cuba till Thursday, at least.
Ian has already made its landfall in Cuba where 50,000 people were evacuated to shelters. Over 2.5 million people from the area have been asked to evacuate immediately.
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