STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

How Hurricane Dorian is impacting travelers

Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport is submerged in water. Watch before and after video.

Posted: Sep 3, 2019 2:00 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2019 2:00 PM

Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm to hit the planet so far this year, has people in its path scrambling to get out of harm's way.

While devastating for residents in the affected communities, the hurricane also spells trouble for travelers in the Bahamas, as well as those visiting Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the United States.

Transport and travel

Videos show Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport is submerged in water.

On Monday, Delta Air Lines canceled all flights to and from the Bahamas due to increased crosswind speeds, according to Delta spokeswoman Lisa Hellerstedt.

The airline made the decision after one of its planes was unable to land in Nassau on Monday, Hellerstedt said. Delta Flight 337 returned to Atlanta.

By Tuesday morning, more than 1,300 Tuesday flights within, into or out of the US had been canceled.

That follows more than 1,500 flights within, to and from the US that were canceled on Monday, with Fort Lauderdale in Florida the most impacted airport, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com.

While it's worth bearing in mind these flights could be canceled for any reason, most are likely due to the disruption caused by the storm.

Carriers including Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit, United and Frontier are offering travelers the option to change or delay flight bookings within affected areas, with certain terms and conditions applying.

Passengers are not automatically entitled to assistance, however.

"As the flight disruption is caused by bad weather, this is considered to be 'force majeure' or an 'extraordinary circumstance' and airlines are therefore not liable to compensate passengers who experience a delay or cancellation," said Paloma Salmeron, a spokeswoman at air passenger rights organization AirHelp.com.

"However, if the delay exceeds five hours or if the flight is canceled, the air passenger is entitled to either a full or partial refund of their original ticket or a return flight to their point of departure if necessary."

"We advise passengers to keep hold of all travel documents and speak to their airline representative to see what they can offer."

Nassau Airport in Bahamas confirmed it's open Tuesday, but many flights have been canceled due to the storm.

In Florida, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which suspended service Monday, said it will resume operations at noon ET on Tuesday.

Miami International remained open as of Tuesday morning, but the airport told travelers via Twitter to check their flight status before heading to the airport and to arrive early.

Orlando International Airport suspended service at 2 a.m. ET Tuesday, and Palm Beach International and Orlando Melbourne International airports suspended service Monday.

Charleston International Airport tweeted that it too will be closing. "The FAA tower will cease operations at 3 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, 9/4)," the announcement reads. "At this time, all airport operations will be suspended. Depending on weather conditions, airport operations are expected to resume on Friday morning."

Cruise ships changing schedules

Cruise ship itineraries are also impacted.

Carnival Cruise Line has adjusted itineraries for numerous ships leaving out of Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Miami and Charleston in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.

CocoCay Island, owned by Royal Caribbean, remained closed. It originally planned to reopen on Wednesday, but that's now been delayed and the hope is it'll be open by Saturday. The cruise line says alternative ports have been secured for sailings in the meantime and a team of experts will evaluate the damage this week.

Royal Caribbean says it is "closely monitoring" Dorian, shortening and extending some ship itineraries where necessary, although the company said that "being onboard a ship is one of safest places to be during a storm."

For non-cruise aficionados, that might seem hard to believe, but Brian Major, executive editor for Caribbean and Latin America at US content company travAlliancemedia, tells CNN Travel that's because cruise ships will always amend their itineraries to avoid sailing into a storm and ensuring the safety of passengers.

"The ships are very astute in making sure they avoid those storms," says Major. "It will impact some folks' vacations, which is the unfortunate part of it. But it's better than sailing towards a hurricane."

Major says cruisers should stay in contact with their cruise line and contact their travel agent if they think they won't be able to get to the port or if they're worried about port closures.

"These situations always bring to light the importance of travel insurance," he adds.

Major also notes that the Bahamas is the number one cruise destination in the world in terms of number of ships, and the potential impact is concerning.

"To see the number one cruise port threatened in this way is something to be concerned about and to keep an eye on."

Accommodation

Many hotels in the hurricane's path have been boarded up and travelers have been evacuated to temporary shelters.

Marriott International will "continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Dorian, and our hotels in the predicted path have implemented storm preparation protocols," the hotel announced in a statement.

Hilton issued a similarly worded statement, encouraging guests to call 1-800-HILTONS (800-774-1500) for up-to-date information on individual hotels.

Some hotels have posted plans on websites or pinned to their social media pages detailing when and if they're closing -- including the swanky The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort south of Charleston, South Carolina, which details plans to close Monday and reassess its status on Thursday.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, comprised of 10,000 restaurants and hotels across the Sunshine State, issued a statement urging members to waive cancellation fees, as well as "extending hospitality to pets by relaxing any pet restrictions they may have."

Other hotels outside the hurricane's path are operating as emergency shelters. Evacuees who can get to Statesboro, Georgia, can check out VisitStatesboro.org for information on hotel spaces currently available there.

Hotel relief effort

Chef Jose Andres told CNN that -- before the hurricane hit -- hotel owners in the Bahamas pledged to be part of the hotel relief effort, offering Andres' nonprofit World Central Kitchen the opportunity to use hotel kitchens to serve food to those in need.

The Atlantis Bahamas confirmed on Twitter on Tuesday that it's working with Andres, World Central Kitchen and the Bahamas Red Cross to provide relief to residents impacted by Dorian.

There will likely be further relief needed over the coming weeks: the American Red Cross says 19 million people live in areas across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that could be impacted by the storm.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for some areas of coastal Georgia and South Carolina and communities along the Atlantic coast of Florida, with state government websites outlining shelters available and hurricane policies.

Those communities include Georgia's Golden Isles, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and other popular beach resorts that were hosting travelers over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Disney storm preps, other parks

In Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort has adjusted its Tuesday hours at most locations due to the advancing storm. Some areas opened early and most parks will close by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. ET. ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed all day.

Full details about opening hours, hotels, dining reservations and other experiences that may be affected are posted online.

Universal Orlando Resorts announced that Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's CityWalk would open as scheduled on Tuesday, but that Universal's Volcano Bay Water Theme Park would be closed and Blue Man Group shows would be canceled.

SeaWorld Orlando and Legoland Florida theme park and water park said they will be closed Tuesday.

Disney Cruise Line employees on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas, spent a few hours in the company's storm shelter on Monday as tropical storm strength winds swept through the island.

"Our Crew has returned to their living quarters," the company said in a Monday statement. "Our thoughts continue to be with the people in areas of The Bahamas that are being impacted by this storm and we stand ready to contribute to recovery efforts."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 327477

Reported Deaths: 3751
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin688981130
Ramsey28948512
Anoka23196232
Dakota23102194
Washington14590120
Stearns14314121
St. Louis9280117
Scott881056
Wright827145
Olmsted702536
Sherburne608243
Clay521359
Carver501315
Kandiyohi432024
Rice427738
Blue Earth426617
Crow Wing376237
Otter Tail332725
Chisago326914
Benton317253
Nobles313731
Winona292031
Douglas278439
Mower270623
Polk266226
Morrison241730
Lyon228712
Beltrami227518
McLeod226517
Becker217619
Goodhue216930
Steele20568
Itasca202223
Isanti199517
Carlton198417
Todd187414
Nicollet169426
Mille Lacs161231
Freeborn15966
Le Sueur153511
Brown151015
Cass149910
Pine14298
Waseca141811
Meeker139011
Roseau12475
Martin121221
Hubbard117728
Wabasha11041
Redwood101720
Chippewa9508
Cottonwood9284
Renville92729
Dodge9110
Watonwan8824
Wadena8537
Sibley8194
Rock8019
Aitkin79530
Houston7694
Fillmore7480
Pipestone74718
Kanabec67714
Yellow Medicine67612
Pennington6758
Swift6149
Murray6064
Faribault5902
Pope5641
Clearwater5389
Stevens5333
Marshall5289
Jackson5181
Lake4437
Wilkin4115
Koochiching4106
Lac qui Parle3984
Unassigned38259
Lincoln3721
Norman3638
Big Stone3332
Mahnomen3164
Grant2956
Kittson2408
Red Lake2283
Traverse1521
Lake of the Woods1021
Cook790

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 234817

Reported Deaths: 2486
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34631341
Linn14655168
Scott1166189
Black Hawk11194139
Woodbury10622133
Johnson979337
Dubuque941594
Story698323
Pottawattamie664871
Dallas657159
Sioux380529
Webster371639
Cerro Gordo367649
Marshall357647
Clinton341444
Buena Vista313114
Des Moines298621
Muscatine298271
Warren291714
Plymouth284444
Wapello263772
Jones235917
Jasper229746
Lee225617
Marion210222
Carroll203624
Bremer200212
Henry19137
Crawford181016
Benton174023
Tama156641
Washington149715
Jackson148814
Delaware147021
Dickinson143811
Boone142412
Mahaska133328
Wright13007
Clay12254
Buchanan122010
Hardin121011
Hamilton117713
Page11664
Kossuth11608
Clayton11399
Cedar112513
Harrison110832
Floyd110219
Calhoun10907
Fayette108712
Mills10858
Lyon10619
Butler10576
Winneshiek102713
Poweshiek102013
Iowa100213
Winnebago94825
Cherokee9474
Chickasaw9084
Hancock9008
Sac8978
Louisa89321
Grundy88911
Allamakee87013
Mitchell8369
Cass83524
Union8166
Appanoose80713
Humboldt8015
Shelby79511
Emmet78626
Guthrie77115
Franklin76021
Jefferson7512
Madison7174
Unassigned7050
Palo Alto6734
Keokuk6477
Pocahontas5984
Howard5809
Osceola5411
Greene5401
Ida53013
Clarke5004
Montgomery49311
Davis4819
Taylor4773
Monona4516
Monroe45113
Adair4489
Worth3820
Van Buren3755
Fremont3743
Lucas3376
Decatur3290
Wayne3077
Audubon3052
Ringgold2382
Adams1792
Rochester
Few Clouds
27° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 18°
Mason City
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 18°
Albert Lea
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Austin
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
More sunshine heading into the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events