With Tropical Storm Hermine quickly making its way to American states and Labor Day plans looming over, you might want to keep a close eye on flight schedules if plans of going away are on your radar this weekend. The storm, which was heavily concentrated in the gulf of Mexico, has barreled ahead toward Florida as of Thursday and is expected to continue to cause some kind of havoc over Friday, affecting weekend plans. But will Tropical Storm Hermine affect flights? Expect some travel delays and some flight cancellations at the least. Update: On Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center announced that Hermine had strengthened from a tropical storm to a hurricane.
Currently, travel plans originating from or departing to the Southeast and Hawaii are most likely to be upended. The National Weather Service has already issued a tropical storm warning for Hawaii, as Hurricane Madeline rained pretty heavily on the Island on Aug. 31. While areas in and around Florida are first on the storm's route, forecasters are warning that the storm will most likely cover Georgia and both the Carolinas.
According to USA Today, four major airlines have alerted about flexible rebooking policies due to the storm; American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have also issued storm-related waivers, meaning travelers won't be charged for changing travel plans.
While travelers might not be paying change fees, it's still an annoyance with the holiday weekend. The Los Angeles Times spoke to Delta Air Lines spokesman, Michael Thomas, who said the change fee waiver is supposed to give travelers added flexibility in their plans like changing their hotel or transportation. It does not mean the flight will be delayed or canceled, however. "We want to limit the number of displaced customers on the front end," he told the paper.
If you're going to be traveling to any of the affected areas — Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas — it's probably wise to keep tabs on the airline's status by calling them to check on the schedule, looking at their social media for updates, or changing your ticket if traveling through this storm doesn't seem ideal. It looks like flights to and from Florida aren't the only thing travelers need to keep in mind this weekend, as local attractions are also closing due to the storm. Tampa attractions like the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, and Lowry Park Zoo are going to be closed on Sept. 1, heeding the tropical storm warning and hurricane watch already announced in Florida.