Florida’s Airports Reopen with ‘Limited’ Service

Many of Florida’s airports are reopening on Tuesday (September 12) after being closed due to Hurricane Irma. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Tampa are all reopening on a “limited basis” on Tuesday.

Miami International said that airlines would be “gradually resuming their schedules”. But the airport added: “Given that many airlines are not operating their full schedules, passengers should contact their airlines directly to confirm flight status before coming to the airport.”

Tampa International said it would “build up to a full schedule over the following days”.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened at 4am on Tuesday, but with “a more limited schedule than normal”.

On Monday, West Palm Beach became one of the first airports in South Florida to resume service when a single Delta Air Lines flight arrived. More flights are expected there on Tuesday – and at most airports across Florida – though fliers should expect uneven schedules as airlines work to get back to normal flying in the state.

Airlines are taking a phased approach to restoration of services as all the aircraft and crew that were moved out of the storm’s path last week are returned their regular positions. Many airlines got staff in place last night to try and get people moving.

Delta will be operating several extra flights Tuesday between Atlanta and the following destinations:

  • Miami (with widebody Boeing 767-400 aircraft bringing 262 additional seats each way)
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Tampa
  • Orlando

American, which is working at resuming normal operations, is continuing to cap fares at $99 each way for flights to or from cities covered by its travel alert through Sept. 17.

British Airways said it planned to operate both of its daily flights from Heathrow to Miami on Tuesday. BA’s Gatwick-Orlando service will also run on Tuesday but the flight in the other direction has been cancelled.

Virgin Atlantic said it would be operating its scheduled daily flight from Heathrow to Miami on Tuesday, as well as five services to Orlando from Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow.

Southwest Airlines said it plans to restart service in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and several smaller Florida airports Tuesday, with operations in Jacksonville canceled until at least Wednesday.

Airlines continue to offer travel waivers for passengers whose plans were disrupted by Irma.

United Airlines is providing bonus miles for passenger donations raised for Hurricane Irma relief. United will also match the first $100,000 raised. MileagePlus members who give to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Airlink, Humane Society International or Operation USA through United’s fundraising page can receive up to 1,000 bonus miles by entering their MileagePlus number at the time of their donation. Each of these organizations has teams deployed throughout the impacted areas to provide shelter, supplies, health care, and other much needed support to people in need.

United will award members miles based on the size of their donation:

  • Donate $50-$99 – Earn 250 bonus miles
  • Donate $100-$249 – Earn 500 bonus miles
  • Donate $250 or more – Earn 1,000 bonus miles

Travelers should not go to the airport unless you already purchased a ticket, have a confirmed seat and checked that your flight status shows “On time.” If you’re going to the airport, plan to arrive earlier than normal as lines will likely be longer. We recommend that travelers headed to Florida contact their hotel provider as well before traveling.

(Buying Business TravelUSA Today)

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