According to FlightAware, Ian has had a significant impact on travel since Monday, with more than 2,100 flights canceled on Wednesday and another 2,000 canceled on Thursday.
As a result, several Florida airports have closed, including Tampa International Airport (TPA), which suspended operations at 5 p.m. Tuesday and said Thursday afternoon it would reopen Friday.
In addition, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) reopened Thursday.
As of Thursday, Orlando International Airport (MCO), Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB), Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) were closed.
The airports that are still in operation, namely Miami International Airport (MIA), Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), have urged their passengers to check the status of their flights with the airlines as soon as possible before their scheduled departure to be prepared for possible delays and cancelations.
Ahead of the storm, which has since strengthened back into a hurricane, some airlines issued and extended travel warnings so that even customers with tickets that generally cannot be changed can alter their flight plans to avoid or escape vulnerable areas.
The National Hurricane Center reports that the storm has ravaged along Florida’s Gulf Coast and that flooding from the intense rain is also expected in central Florida.
President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Florida over the weekend in advance of the hurricane, and disaster management officials have urged residents to make plans.
Flight cancelations due to Hurricane Ian
In addition to the airport closures already mentioned, other flights in and out of the region could also be affected. Airlines have issued notices of possible delays or cancelations at Charleston International Airport (CHS), Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) through the weekend as the storm is expected to move into South Carolina.
Most of the major U.S. airlines serving Florida, including the nation’s four largest carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, have issued travel advisories for the areas where Ian is expected to have the greatest impact.
Even those with tickets for the lowest level of economy class, may change their travel plans during a travel warning if they are affected by the alert.
Other airlines serving Florida, such as Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air, have also issued waivers.
Theme park reopenings
Theme parks in the Orlando and Tampa areas were temporarily shut down in anticipation of Hurricane Ian. Local theme parks are reopening with a focus on guest and employee safety now that Central Florida has emerged from the hurricane and is in the damage assessment and cleanup phase.