The status of traveling to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian

Sep 4, 2019

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Hurricane Dorian has wreaked havoc on everything in its path — especially the islands of the Bahamas. The then-Category 5 storm — which had sustained winds reaching 185 miles per hour — stalled over the island for days. The images and videos of the destruction now emerging are harrowing. At least seven people died from the storm, according to NPR, and the toll is expected to rise.

Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) in Freeport was hit especially hard. Reports are surfacing that it’s “completely destroyed” and totally underwater.

According to Patrick Oppmann, international correspondent and Havana bureau chief at CNN: “There is not a wall left … The level of devastation is breathtaking … Part of a plane is deposited in the middle of the terminal.”

Additionally, Bahamian Prime Minster Hubert Minnis said the area surrounding the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (MHH) that serves the Abaco Islands “looks like a lake,” according to NPR. “It is going to require a massive coordinated effort to rebuild our communities.”

As far as Lynden Pindling International in Nassau (NAS), home to popular resorts such as Atlantis and Baha Mar, flooding has reportedly been minor. USA Today reported that the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has been given an “all-clear” for New Providence Island, although flooding and power outages are present in parts of Nassau.

If you have travel booked to the Bahamas in the coming weeks or months, your credit card may be able to help you out if your plans were disrupted by Hurricane Dorian. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, has some of the best travel protections around, including trip cancellation insurance. This type of insurance reimburses you if a covered loss (think: devastating storm) prevents you or your immediate family members from traveling on or before the departure date, and results in cancellation of the trip.

It also covers you if the loss causes interruption of a trip on the way to the point of departure or after departure. There are two types of covered losses that may apply if your trip is cancelled or interrupted, including severe weather, or finding that your dwelling is uninhabitable.

And even if your credit card doesn’t offer any form of trip protection, you may still have some coverage. Your best bet is to call the hotel or airline you are booked with and ask for a refund; if they can’t issue one, you might want to file a credit card dispute.

And though it may be easy to reschedule your travel plan, for many residents of the Bahamas, the nightmare is just beginning. For travelers interested in getting involved, there are plenty of ways to help. Various airlines and hospitality companies are offering bonus miles incentives for donating to the Red Cross, for example, and you can even open your home or apartment to people who have been displaced.

Featured photo of the Grand Bahama International Airport by YASMIN RIGBY/AFP/Getty Images.

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