This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
After ripping through the Caribbean, major Hurricane Matthew is approaching the Florida coast. Based on the latest forecast, landfall is expected to occur overnight Friday morning just north of West Palm Beach.
The storm is expected to strengthen even more today. The forecast calls for the storm to reach category 4 (out of 5) hurricane strength before landfall. For reference, Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a category 3, and Hurricane Andrew — which caused $25 billion in damage to Miami in 1992 — made landfall as a category 5 hurricane.
|% of Flights
|% of Flights
Not surprisingly, the hurricane is having a major impact on flights to and from Florida and the Bahamas. As of this morning, FlightAware.com has already recorded 2,525 cancellations for flights scheduled today and tomorrow. 379 of these cancellations are at Miami (MIA) alone, accounting for half of today’s scheduled flights. Fort Lauderdale (FLL) has already had 315 cancellations (66% of today’s flights), but it’s going to get worse as FLL is expected to close at 10:30am.
— Amanda Plasencia (@AmandaNBC6) October 6, 2016
The airline hardest hit by these cancellations is American Airlines, which has one of its major hubs currently under a hurricane warning. 726 of American Airlines’ flights have already been cancelled for the next two days, accounting for 14% of today’s flights and 9% of tomorrow’s scheduled flights. The airline most impacted percentage-wise is Spirit, with a 27% of systemwide scheduled flights already cancelled.
If you’re in the path of the storm, be sure to prepare as much as possible this morning. Pay attention to local evacuation orders. Remember that 75% of hurricane deaths are from storm surge or other flooding. One of the most important things you can do is find shelter on high ground before the storm hits.
If you’re currently being affected by the 1,000s of flight cancellations, check with your airline before you head to the airport. Many airlines already have travel waivers in place to allow you to reschedule your flights or reroute through airports not affected by the storm.
Even if your flights aren’t delayed or cancelled yet, you might want to utilize existing travel waivers to get yourself out of the path of the storm. The longer that you wait to rebook your flights means less options you’ll eventually have, as other travelers are booked into currently empty seats.
Check your airline’s current travel waiver here:
- Allegiant Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- JetBlue Airlines
- Silver Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
If you’re currently on a trip and stranded away from home by the storm, check the credit card insurance benefits for the card that you used to book this trip. You may be eligible for expense reimbursements for extra hotel nights, ground transportation and other necessities.
- Citi Prestige ($500 per passenger for 3+ hour delay)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay)
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay)
Featured image by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards