The heart of the summer was brutal for business travel. September is looking little better. Start with a monstrous Category 5 hurricane with almost unimaginably high winds, throw in continued problems in Hong Kong and glitches elsewhere and you have another miserable month of travel. Here is how we've covered it. Read up from the bottom for context.
9/20/19, 11AM ET, FRIDAY
AND IN THE END, HOUSTON/INTERCONTINENTAL GETS SLAMMED
Welcome to the last weekend of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. And, of course, this uniquely difficult summer ends with a major problem. Yesterday it was at Houston/Intercontinental Airport. The winds and rains from Imelda flooded roads in and around the airport. Early in the morning, there was an FAA-imposed ground stop. Then all flights into and out of the airport were suspended at 1:30pm Central Time. The airport didn't reopen to flight traffic until 4am this morning. Access roads are still limited due to flooding. So, you know, down goes a major hub for more than a day and it's just another small footnote in this oh-so-weird summer.
9/19/19, 9PM ET, THURSDAY
BRITISH AIRWAYS: CRUSHING SOULS, STRIKE OR NO STRIKE
Even when things break its way, the moral and operational bankruptcy of British Airways is glaringly apparent. After last week's two-day pilots strike effectively grounded the airline, the union announced early yesterday that it had cancelled the planned September 27 work stoppage. How did BA respond? With apparent befuddlement and glacial inaction. As of 3pm local time today, more than 24 hours later, BA's Web site still displayed this disdainful message: "We are now considering the implications for our schedule and we will give updates in due course." BA already had begun dumping flights for the 27th and that leaves customers in limbo, a sadly familiar physical and emotional destination for BA flyers. Just last week, in fact, Great Britain's aviation regulator upbraided the airline for lying to passengers about alternate arrangements. By law, BA is required to rebook disrupted travelers on the best available alternative, including nonstops operated by competitors such as Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian Air. BA wasn't doing that, of course, and rebuffing flyers who pointed out its legal obligations. BA will now try to lure flyers back onto its planes with bribes. Almost immediately after the September 27 strike was cancelled, BA announced a double Avios points offer. The good news: The double-points offer is also valid on transatlantic flights operated by American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair. Details are here
. Meanwhile, It was only after 10pm today local time before BA updated its schedule and travel policies
9/19/19, 8PM ET, THURSDAY
SAN FRANCISCO PROMISES RUNWAY WORK ENDS TONIGHT
The runway repairs at San Francisco International, which turned SFO arrivals and departures into a brutal slog of extraordinarily long delays, abrupt cancellations and random flight diversions, may be ending. As early as tonight, in fact. Airport officials, who've spent most of the month telling flyers that their disrupted schedules really weren't happening, said yesterday that the repaired Runway 28L will reopen at 9pm local time. That's a full week ahead of schedule. Don't make book on the promise, of course, but maybe next week won't be as bad as it could have been.
9/12/19, 5:30PM ET, THURSDAY
SFO'S DAILY NIGHTMARE? OFFICIALS SAY NOTHING TO SEE HERE
Clearly not enough travelers heeded the early warnings to avoid San Francisco International
during its nearly month-long runway construction project. Since it started Saturday (September 7), cancellations have come in bunches and delays have piled up. Around 700 takeoffs and landings have been cancelled through 5pm local time today and several thousand more flights have been delayed, some as long as five hours at a time. Even diverting dozens of flights each day to nearby Oakland and San Jose airports has not helped. Worse, San Francisco airport authorities make believe everything is going just as expected and there's no particular cause for concern. Obviously, their theory is deny the crowds milling around departure gates and stuck on tarmacs. United Airlines weeks ago issued a travel waiver for flights using its SFO hub. Delta Air Lines has belatedly matched for its much smaller SFO operation. But except for a few flight diversions, Alaska Airlines, which also hubs at SFO, has made frustrated Bay Area flyers stick to their schedules. With the airport offering little better than 50-50 odds of operating on-time (or operating at all) that is bitter medicine indeed. The runway closure for the $16 million project is scheduled to last until at least September 26.
9/12/19, 5PM ET, THURSDAY
CATHAY PACIFIC SEES THE FUTURE AND SHRINKS IN A HURRY
Cathay Pacific Airways had just begun to solve its existential crisis
when this summer's democracy demonstrations began. The airline's initial laissez-faire attitude toward employee participation in the protests enraged Hong Kong's Chinese masters and the boys in Beijing unceremoniously lopped off the heads of Cathay's chairman, chief executive and chief commercial officer
. Now comes the inevitable financial repercussions of the protests. Travel to Hong Kong fell by nearly 40 percent in August after a double-digit drop in July. Cathay says its August traffic fell by more than 11 percent, disastrous news since August is usually Hong Kong's busiest month for business travel. September is unlikely to be better. The result? Immediate route cuts. Cathay's well-regarded "secret flights" between New York/JFK and Vancouver
end late in March. Routes to Hong Kong from Washington/Dulles and JFK will operate with fewer frequencies. Globally, Cathay is dropping winter service on its newish Dublin route and trimming frequencies on its runs from Hong Kong to Paris/CDG, Vancouver and Frankfurt. The airline has instituted a hiring freeze and is searching for other cost-cutting measures, too.
9/10/19, 7PM ET, TUESDAY
AN SFO RUNWAY CATCH-22 COSTS $3,300 ...
This just in from the Catch-22 Department: "Returning to SFO from IAD this evening," a JoeSentMe member said via E-mail. "All flights 3-4 hours delayed" because of the runway project at San Francisco International. He also says he "had to rebook my [connecting] flight to Stockholm this Saturday because of likely cancellations and delays. Cost my company $3,300 at current fares." Why the hefty fee? "United was not able to reaccommodate me since my onward connection was with SAS. SAS considered it 'not their problem' since the issue was with the United leg" originating at SFO.
9/09/19, 12PM ET, MONDAY
SFO COLLAPSES INTO CHAOS
As I suggested two weeks ago
, the planned closure of a runway at San Francisco International would cause havoc. The three-week shutdown of Runway 28L for repairs began Saturday (September 7) and the delays and cancellations have been piling up ever since. According to FlightAware.com, there were 108 cancellations Saturday (the lightest travel day of any week), 143 yesterday and already more than 100 this morning. SFO Airport officials have essentially called it all fake news--they've gone out of their way to suggest no one understands the numbers or that the numbers are skewed--but believe the stats. And there are plenty of contemporaneous examples on social media attesting to delays of two hours or longer on some flights that do operate.
9/09/19, 11:30AM ET, MONDAY
BRITISH AIRWAYS IS OFF THE BOARD
As I warned last weekend
, the pilots strike at British Airways that began this morning (London time) has wiped out all but a few BA flights. Tuesday, the second planned day of work stoppage, will be no different: BA has already dumped virtually all flights tomorrow. That means about 1,400 cancellations worldwide. In fact, things were awful on Sunday (September 8) as well as BA decided to leave aircraft on the ground wherever they were. That led the airline to scrub a quarter of its flight schedule on Sunday. Expect a similar amount of cancellations on Wednesday, too. Another day of strikes is planned for September 27. The outlook is miserable. Not only are the sides not talking, they're also blaming each other for the fact that they are not talking.
9/09/19, 9AM ET, MONDAY
TOKYO TYPHOON TANGLES TRANSPORTATION
Typhoon Faxai made landfall around Metropolitan Tokyo this morning (local time) and the effects were immediate: Flights were cancelled in bunches at both Narita and Haneda airports, delays were rampant and the ground transportation network essentially shut down. The result? About 13,000 flyers are stranded at Narita Airport. Why? The two major rail operators connecting Narita (about 45 miles from downtown Tokyo) closed their rail links. The buses between the city and the airport weren't running, either. The storm was so violent that many of Japan's long-haul rail network and its commuter lines were also not running.
9/08/19, 9AM ET, SUNDAY
THE NEVER-ENDING DORIAN
In case you missed it, Hurricane Dorian hit Atlantic Canada as a Category 2 storm Saturday night into Sunday morning. At one time, at least 500,000 customers were without electricity in the Maritime Provinces and, yes, flights at Halifax and other airports in the region reported huge delays and many cancellations. Dorian was the first Category 2 storm to hit Canada since Hurricane Juan in 2003.
9/06/19, 11AM ET, FRIDAY
IT'S HERE! DORIAN MAKES U.S. LANDFALL
Dorian finally made U.S. landfall as a Category 1 storm at about 8:30am near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. That's its fourth landfall after hitting the Bahamas three separate times earlier in the week. The devastation there is brutal. At least 30 are dead and authorities suggest the toll will go much higher. Most of the Grand Bahamas and Abacos islands are destroyed. There's no water, no electricity, no infrastructure, no ports and no airports. It'll be dire there for weeks and months to come.
As for Dorian now, about 300 flights have been cancelled today and Norfolk Airport seems to be hardest hit. About 400,000 customers are still without power in the Carolinas and southern Virginia. But the storm, still churning with winds of 90mph, has moved offshore again. If the weather experts are correct, it'll be merely an annoyance to travel this weekend along the I-95 Corridor. Bizarrely, however, it is expected to bring hurricane-force winds to Atlantic Canada on Saturday night or Sunday morning. And, yes, if you're wondering: Dorian is one of the longest-lasting hurricanes on record and its 185mph sustained winds match a 1935 storm for most intense Atlantic system ever. From the U.S. perspective, we were lucky and generally inconvenienced rather than truly harmed. But for the Bahamas, this was the worst storm in its history and an entire society will have to be rebuilt.
9/05/19, 11PM ET, THURSDAY
FREEPORT AIRPORT IS A 'DEBRIS FIELD'
Grand Bahama International, better known to travelers as Freeport (FPO), is like many smallish airports on tropical islands. Except for its close proximity to Miami International--around 100 nautical miles away--and the U.S. Customs preclearance facility, FPO really is nothing special: a runway, two serviceable passenger terminals and a facility for private aircraft. Most of its scheduled service is from regional jets and turboprops. But now it is gone, reduced to what a CNN reporter called "a debris field."
The runway was submerged for days and all of its buildings appear shredded beyond redemption. Even best-case estimates suggest it'll be the end of the year before any commercial traffic can resume at FPO.
Here's a short promotional video tour of the airport
produced for the facility's owner, Hutchinson Ports. Ironically, it was posted earlier this summer. Compare that to a Voice of America video
from yesterday. Or watch the video embedded with CNN's report
. Anchor Jake Tapper calls it "utter destruction," but reporter Patrick Ottman called it "debris field." He and his cameraman show that part of a small aircraft was blown into the middle of a passenger terminal. The external walls are gone and there seems to be nothing recognizable as a passenger terminal.
9/05/19, 10:45PM ET, THURSDAY
THE CHARLESTON-AREA WAFFLE HOUSE REPORT
If you live in the South, you rely on Waffle House, a chain of (very) fast (very) casual restaurants that operates around the clock. It is so determined to operate in bad weather--and prepares so assiduously for extreme conditions--that former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate created the Waffle House Index
. The theory: First responders and FEMA can assess the severity of any storm by checking on whether local Waffle House locations are open and which of several emergency menus they're serving. So it's no surprise that the local Charleston paper, The Post and Courier
, partially gauged the storm's impact by calling all the area's 22 Waffle Houses. Here's the report, which will add to the Waffle House
9/05/19, 10:30PM ET, THURSDAY
DORIAN DELIVERS A GLANCING BLOW TO THE CAROLINAS
Dorian, the never-ending storm, blew through the Carolinas today as a Category 2 hurricane, bringing flooding to low-lying Charleston, a few tornados, power outages and plenty of airport closures. It is also the third hurricane to hit the region in as many years.
Because there wasn't a direct hit--the hurricane again hung off the coast rather than make landfall--flight cancellations were comparatively light at the mostly smaller airports at or near the Carolina coast. FlightAware.com registered about 550 cancellations nationwide. Charleston (CHS), Wilmington (ILX) and Jacksonville (OAJ) airports were closed all day. Myrtle Beach (MYR) airport was open, but there were no flights. Most airports--including Florence (FLO) and New Bern (EWN)--expect to be back in operation by mid-day on Friday. Meanwhile, in Florida and Georgia, airports reopened today with surprisingly few cancellations.
9/04/19, 9PM ET, WEDNESDAY
NOW DORIAN IS TARGETING THE CAROLINAS
Hurricane Dorian is still a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. It is about 130 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, and about 250 miles south southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. It is moving more rapidly, 8mph, compared to the nearly stationary two days it spent over the Bahamas.
There are a variety of storm warnings from the Florida line up through Virginia. The biggest woes? Rain and storm surge. Up to 15 inches could fall on Coastal Carolina, says the National Weather Service. Up to six inches could fall from the Florida border to South Carolina coastal areas. The best guess now--and this hurricane has proven weather remains something of a guessing game--serious trouble for the Low Country and, later this week, seriously stormy weather as far north as the New York area by Friday and coastal New England by the weekend.
WHAT TO DO...
Thankfully, the storm hung further off the Florida coast than expected, which meant comparatively minimal disruptions for travel. But the storm seems to have Carolina on its mind now and weather experts are predicting real problems late tonight into tomorrow around the Charleston area. However, look at your weekend travel. If it includes the 1-95 Corridor, be worried and expect cancellations and delays.
About 1,000 flights nationwide have been cancelled so far today. Around 500 are already off the board tomorrow. Myrtle Beach Airport remains open, but virtually all flights tomorrow have been cancelled. All flights this evening were cancelled at Jacksonville (Florida) and Savannah (Georgia). As planned, Charleston Airport closed this afternoon. Wilmington, North Carolina, was due to close at 9pm.
The two primary airports with Orlando in the name--Orlando International (MCO) and Sanford (SFB)--have reopened. Melbourne (MLB) reopens tomorrow as does St. Augustine (UST).
9/04/19, 8:30PM ET, WEDNESDAY
NORTHERN BAHAMAS 'HAVE BECOME PART OF THE SEA'
From the aviation standpoint, Nassau Airport (NAS) is open and carriers are flying into and out of the facility. However, Grand Bahamas International (Freeport) and Marsh Harbour (Abaco) airports in the Northern Bahamas are literally submerged and may have to be completely rebuilt. And the situation at those two airports encapsulates the situations in the Northern Bahamas. You've seen the pictures, but maybe the words of Paula Newton reporting for CNN are most explanatory: "They have become part of the sea," she said. "There is nothing left."
9/04/19, 8PM ET, WEDNESDAY
In a world where real travel news is happening with blinding speed, it's impossible to keep up with the fake news generated by the White House. But sometimes, it's too bizarre to ignore or excuse.
Over the weekend, President Trump claimed that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian
. The National Weather Service in Birmingham immediately shot down the claim
. "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east," it said. In fact, the White House posted photos of the President getting an Oval Office briefing. The photos clearly show maps that the President saw
did not include Alabama.
No big deal, right? Trump misidentified a state. Not optimum, but, you know, there was plenty of real information being put out by reliable sources. No one in Alabama would have been panicked. No one expects a President to be a forecaster or a weather expert.
But no mistake can be admitted--or even simply ignored--in the Trump Administration. In a White House briefing today, Trump produced one of the original National Weather Service maps--but it was doctored with a bump extending into Alabama. The Alabama bump was clearly drawn with a Sharpie, the pen Trump uses to sign legislation. When reporters challenged Trump on the doctored map, he said he knew nothing about it. The Washington Post
explains the astonishing story here
. Meanwhile, Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean tweeted
this bit: "PS: It is a violation of federal law to falsify a National Weather Service forecast and pass it off as official."
9/03/19, 8PM ET, TUESDAY
GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS FOR FLORIDA AND THE STORM
Good news: As of the 8pm National Weather Service advisory, Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110mph. After more than 48 hours essentially stalled over the Bahamas, the storm is moving northwest toward the United States at 6mph.
Bad news: The storm is getting larger. Hurricane-force winds now extend 60 miles from the eye and tropical-storm winds extend around 175 miles from its core.
THE STORM TRACK
Much of coastal south and mid Florida may be spared from serious harm, but now there are storm warnings and storm-surge alerts posted as far north as the Virginia-North Carolina border. Where exactly the weakened, but still dangerous, storm may hit remains unknown. It is currently about 110 miles from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Coastal areas around Florida's Treasure Coast are getting the first lashings from the storm's outer bands.
Port Everglades cruise port has reopened. Tri-Rail and Brightline train service resume tomorrow. Fort Lauderdale and Orlando/Sanford airports reopened. Palm Beach (PBI) remains closed despite plans to reopen today. It now expects to reopen at 5am tomorrow. Nassau (NAS) Airport and Bahamas Ferries are operating albeit with cancellations. The Nassau ports are open.
Orlando International (MCO) remains closed. Many Orlando-area theme parks closed today or reduced hours. Charleston Airport (CHS) will close at 3pm tomorrow. Amtrak continues to cancel the Florida sections of the Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Auto Train trains. It is also altering schedules for Palmetto trains, which serve the Carolinas. Check with Amtrak for specifics on specific days.
Nearly 1,900 flights have been cancelled nationwide so far today. That's up from yesterday's approximately 1,500 cancellations. About 700 flights have already been cancelled tomorrow.
9/03/19, 7PM ET, TUESDAY
DORIAN DECIMATES THE BAHAMAS
Hurricane Dorian crashed into the Northern Bahamas as a Category 5 on Sunday with winds around 185mph and then pummeled the Grand Bahamas and Abacos islands for more than 48 hours. Even now there are hurricane conditions. Freeport Airport runways are literally submerged. In fact, about half of Grand Bahamas Island is under water. As you may have seen on the cable news networks, there is widespread devastation to the entire infrastructure on the northern islands. Since the harbors have also been largely destroyed, it is impossible to get help in since neither planes nor ships can reach the islands.
"The help needs help," one very sharp local resident told the BBC World Service today, explaining that police can't operate, either. Individual residents--often using jet skis--are doing rescues. "There's nothing we can do except sit here and take it," the woman explained about the slow-moving storm.
9/03/19, 6:45PM ET, TUESDAY
THE MONDAY NIGHT FLYING BLUES
Monday evening was a tough night in the Northeast as storms unrelated to Dorian delayed flights from Washington to New York. One example: Delta Flight 444 from New York/JFK to Rome. Not only was it delayed on departure for more than three hours due to a late-arriving aircraft, it was then diverted to Dublin due to a medical emergency. "Not a good flight," said a JoeSentMe member, one of at least four on that particular flight. (Contemporaneous reporting on the medical diversion is here
.) Meanwhile, a nervous Alaska Airlines employee inexplicably triggered an evacuation alarm at a Newark Airport terminal and sent hundreds of passengers and employees into a panic. The details are here
9/02/19, 5:45PM ET, MONDAY
FLORIDA CLOSES WHILE THE BAHAMAS GET DESTROYED
As of the 5pm report from the National Weather Service
, Dorian is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. It is moving incredibly slowly, and, in fact, is nearly stationary at around one mile per hour. It has moved less than 60 miles in the last 24 hours. In terms you might better understand, that is little more than the driving distance between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.
The storm continues to rake the low-lying northern islands of the Bahamas and remains more than 100 miles away from Florida. (That's about 425 miles from Charleston, South Carolina.) Its path still seems unsure although weather experts say it has begun its northward turn. Best estimates suggest that it will remain offshore, but cause plenty of destruction and chaos in the hours ahead.
When and where will the real effects be felt? Also unknown. But if you consult the latest government wind map
, you'll see storm-force winds might reach Central coastal Florida as early as tomorrow morning. There will be winds related to the storm as late as Friday in the Washington-Boston corridor.
Bottom line? Travel in coastal Florida, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas will be difficult throughout the week. Later this week, look for impact in Virginia and the I-95 corridor.
FLORIDA AIRPORT CLOSURES
Fort Lauderdale (FLL), home to a large JetBlue "focus city," closed at noon today. So did Melbourne (MLB). Palm Beach International (PBI) closed at 2pm. Daytona Beach (DAB) and St. Augustine (UST) are due to close at 6pm. Orlando International (MCO) says it will close at 2am Tuesday, ending days of conflicting and confusing announcements. Orlando/Sanford (SFB) is open, but FlightAware.com reports that virtually all flights today were cancelled. That's no surprise since Allegiant, SFB's largest carrier, dumped its entire Sanford schedule for the next few days. The airport now says it'll officially close at 11pm.
FLORIDA AIRPORTS THAT ARE OPEN
Miami International is open and operating and expects to be largely spared. Airports along Florida's Gulf Coast are open. Tallahassee is open as are Florida Panhandle airports. Jacksonville is open, but intimates it may close soon. There are significant cancellations at JAX. All airports in Georgia and the Carolinas remain open although some airlines tell me flight cancellations may be announced as soon as tomorrow. So pay attention if you are scheduled to fly to/from/through the region in the days ahead.
AIRLINE TRAVEL WAIVERS
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have joined American Airlines and extended travel waivers into coastal Georgia and the Carolinas. But American still hasn't issued a waiver for flights at Charlotte, its huge hub. If it sticks to this policy, expect massive delays and heavy cancellations later this week. Partially because the weather will force it and partially because the American commuter carriers at CLT are already running poorly without a storm challenge. American's history challenging summer and winter storms at CLT has not been encouraging.
About 1,300 flights have been cancelled nationwide today, most of them touching the Bahamas, Florida, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas. Almost 1,000 flights have already been cancelled from tomorrow's schedules.
Brightline and Tri-Rail are closed. Amtrak continues to cancel the intra-Florida segments of its trains. There are now evacuation orders from the middle of the state up to the Georgia line. (See here
.) That means many major highways have reversed traffic patterns, facilitating outbound traffic. Tolls on many Florida roads have been suspended. There are spotty gasoline shortages. There are also road reversals to speed evacuations in South Carolina.
THE SITUATION IN THE BAHAMAS
Nassau (NAS) Airport remains open albeit with serious cancellations. The island of Nassau itself has been largely spared although there have been tropical force winds and rain. It's a different story in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahamas. The hurricane, which reached the area yesterday, continues to remain essentially stationary. Freeport Airport on Grand Bahamas is reported to be flooded with at least five feet of water. The storm surge in some areas has been reported at 20 feet. (The tallest spot on the islands is below 50 feet.) About 13,000 homes are partially or totally destroyed, according to the International Red Cross. According to photos and videos being posted on social media, large areas of the Northern Bahamas are now submerged.
9/01/19, 6:45PM ET, SUNDAY
FLORIDA AND THE CAROLINAS PLAY PEEKABOO WITH DORIAN
Dorian is now a massive Category 5 hurricane with astonishing winds above 180 miles per hour. It is pummeling the defenseless Bahamas and may stay all day Monday, too. The question now is when and where Dorian will hit the East Coast of the Southeastern United States. Florida, coastal Georgia and the Carolinas are all in the target area for heavy winds, rain and storm surge, often the biggest threat in this type of storm. Storm and storm-surge warnings are being posted along the mid- to-northern coast of Florida. Some forecasts have Dorian buffeting the Florida coast as a Category 5 storm in the overnight hours of Tuesday morning, continuing to rake Florida as a Category 3 storm until at least mid-day Wednesday and remaining a Category 1 storm when it nears Virginia on Friday.
In other words, this will play havoc with travel--both air and ground--all next week. Be flexible and be prepared.
Meanwhile, the slow-moving nature of the storm as well as its hard-to-predict track has had airlines and airports playing a guessing game all weekend. Several airports that had announced closures for today decided to stay open only to change again later this afternoon. The Brightline train closed yesterday, but reopened today, only to announce another closure tomorrow. Here are salient details:
has added a travel waiver for eight airports in Georgia and the Carolinas, but not
its huge Charlotte hub. This is distressing because the last time American kept Charlotte open in a storm, there were hundreds of cancellations for days. AA is running poorly without the storms. Playing chicken with a hurricane of this nature and not permitting travelers to make early moves to reschedule is annoying at best, catastrophic at worst. But that's today's American for you.
Palm Beach International (PBI)
will close tomorrow at 2pm.
Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
is open and operating but with dozens of cancellations. It is likely to close tomorrow, too, although nothing has been publicly announced.
, home to an American hub, is open and operating and is clear of most predicted storm tracks. But assume nothing.
Orlando International (MCO)
reversed a decision to close tonight and is operating normally. It, too, might be out of the storm's track.
will close at noon tomorrow. That is after scheduling an earlier closure, then pushing it back.
has cancelled its closure and continues to operate, but its primary carrier (Allegiant) has cancelled its SFO schedule tomorrow and Tuesday.
, which serves, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, closes after tonight's trains and will remain closed until further notice.
St. Augustine (UST)
will close at 9 p.m. on Monday.
continues to cancel intra-Florida operations of the Silver Star and Silver Meteor trains and the Autotrain service.
9/01/19, 6PM ET, SUNDAY
A GLITCH IN FRANCE CAUSES A CONTINENT OF DELAYS
A failure of flight control operations in France caused massive delays and some cancellations in Europe today. To understand why a French problem causes continent-wide trouble, please remember that each nation controls its own airspace. A nonstop from Point A (say, London) to Point B (say, Milan) overflies France and is thus dependent on French air traffic control. So a huge array of flights around Europe today were affected.
Worst-hit airports were in London (40 percent of Gatwick flights and 25 percent of Heathrow flights delayed) and, naturally France, where 40 percent of Paris/Orly and 30 percent of Paris/CDG runs were delayed. About 25 percent of Amsterdam, Geneva, Dusseldorf and Munich flights were delayed. About 40 percent of flights were delayed at Barcelona (BCN), which is also struggling with local issues. About 10 percent of EasyJet flights were outright cancelled. British Airways, TAP Air Portugal and Vueling (a Spain-based discounter owned by BA's parent company) each cancelled about 5 percent of their flights. And these are conservative numbers. The actual situation might have been worse. Numbers are still coming in. Worst of all, delays were long, two hours or more on some flights. Today was a heavy travel day as many Europeans were headed home from summer holidays.
9/01/19, 5:30PM ET, SUNDAY
DEMONSTRATORS TARGET ACCESS TO HONG KONG AIRPORT
A court order kept Hong Kong democracy protestors out of the airport's terminals this weekend, which was shut down for several days during protests last month. However, there were violent street clashes on Saturday local time between the (mostly) unarmed protesters and heavily armed Hong Kong police. On Sunday afternoon local time, protestors moved to just outside the Hong Kong International airport grounds. They trashed several stations of the MTR airport rail line. They also blocked access roads leading to the airport and built barricades of luggage trolleys at airport area bus stops. The result? Lots of pictures and video of airline crews and passengers walking miles along closed rail tracks and roads trying to get to flights. Airport operations were unaffected, however, although at least a third of flights ran late. Airport Express rail service didn't resume until about 10pm Sunday local time. The South China Morning Post
, the most reliable and least-biased of Hong Kong's media, had a running blog
of activity around the airport today. Fair warning, however: Hong Kong media is under increasing and intense pressure from mainland Chinese authorities. The new editorial baseline ("peace" and "stability") leads to biased coverage of any action taken by protestors against Hong Kong's established order.
9/01/19, 5:15PM ET, SUNDAY
DORIAN SMASHES INTO THE BAHAMAS AS A CATEGORY 5 STORM
Now a Category 5 storm, Dorian made landfall this afternoon on the Abacos Islands in northern Bahamas. The numbers are mind-boggling: winds of 185 miles per hour with gusts as high as 220mph. Worse, it has slowed to a crawl, moving at just 5mph, meaning it will batter the islands for hours, if not days. Astonishingly, Nassau Airport (NAS) to the south remains open and flights are still operating. The explanation: Dorian is a compact storm. Hurricane-force winds "only" extend out 45 miles and tropical-force (sub-74mph) extend 140 miles. Freeport (Grand Bahamas) and Marsh Harbour airports are closed. The storm is moving (albeit slowly) toward the Grand Bahamas islands. We'll only know exactly how much damage has been done when the storm finally moves off.
8/31/19, 9PM ET, SATURDAY
Strikes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, demonstrations. Computer meltdowns. You name it, it's happened on the road in June, July and August. It featured record heat in Europe, protests at Hong Kong Airport and the de rigeur threat of summer strikes at London's Heathrow Airport. Then, of course, came Dorian, the monstrous Category 5 storm. Click here
to read all about it.