Florida airports reopen; Airlines eye New Orleans
South Florida airports were returning to normal operations Monday morning but airlines are already warning of cancelations in and around New Orleans as Tropical Storm Isaac nears.
Airlines canceled more than 230 flights on Monday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. The vast majority of cancelations stemmed from the storm, which is expected to grow to a Category 1 hurricane and hit land late Tuesday night.
American Airlines, part of AMR Corp., runs a major hub at Miami International Airport and was affected the most. The airline had 148 cancelations in Florida Monday morning but expected to operate normally by late morning, according to spokesman Ed Martelle.
Airlines typically move planes out of a storm's path to protect them and ensure a faster return to service.
Airlines canceled 857 flights on Sunday — including 489 from American, according to FlightAware.
Other Florida airports, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Key West, and Marathon were responsible for the majority of other cancelations.
Key West International Airport, which originally expected to remain closed until Tuesday, will now reopen at noon Monday, according to airport director Peter Horton.
Airlines are now closely watching the storm and warning of possible cancelations along the Florida panhandle and in New Orleans.
Southwest Airlines, which canceled 35 Florida flights today between its Southwest and AirTran brands, is monitoring airports in Panama City, Pensacola and New Orleans. The airline will make a decision about New Orleans flights late on Monday, according to spokeswoman Ashley Dillon.
Those airports are tiny compared to Miami, which is a major gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. Any cancelations there would be in addition to the nearly 1,000 flights scrapped so far because of the storm.
All airlines will waive change fees for passengers wishing to move their flight into or out of an affected city to another date. They are also offering refunds to passengers whose flights have been canceled. The specific policies can be found on each airline's website.