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Dorian Strengthens Into a Hurricane, Forecast to Strike Florida as a Category 3

Aug. 28, 2019
8 min read
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For the latest update on Hurricane Dorian, check

If you have a trip planned to, or flights through, Florida or the Bahamas this weekend, prepare for disruption. Hurricane Dorian is now forecast to turn into a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) before it sweeps through the Bahamas and making landfall in Florida on Monday.

What a difference a night can make: at 8pm on Tuesday, Dorian was forecast to hit Florida still as a tropical storm. Then, overnight, new hurricane model runs began forecasting a drastic change. Instead of striking Florida as a tropical storm, models showed the storm rapidly intensifying into a major hurricane.

As meteorologist Ryan Maue put it Tuesday night: "Time to start hoping these models are all wrong."

As of 11am Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center updated the official forecast to reflect what the models showed. The forecast now calls for the now-Hurricane Dorian to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane, meaning at least 115mph maximum sustained winds. This official forecast shows a landfall around Daytona Beach on Monday morning.

But the impacts would be felt up to days before the landfall. The Turks and Caicos could see tropical storm force winds as early as Thursday. Parts of the Bahamas would start getting tropical storm winds Friday, and the Florida coast could be affected as soon as Saturday night.

Further north, Tropical Storm Erin formed Tuesday night off of the North Carolina coast. While this storm is forecast to stay offshore, it could still have an effect on air travel through the US Northeast on Thursday:

All US-based airlines that operate flights to the Caribbean have issued weather advisories for Hurricane Dorian, although they are mostly limited to the Caribbean. Airlines will likely wait a couple of days before issuing waivers for the Florida coast, although Southwest has already issued waivers for South Florida.

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The waivers issued for Hurricane Dorian as of 12:30pm on Wednesday are:


  • Travel dates: August 26-29
  • Covered airports: Bridgetown, Barbados (BGI); Cap Haitien, Haiti (CAP); Fort de France, Martinique (FDF); Port Au Prince, Haiti (PAP); Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP); Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI); Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ); St. Lucia, Saint Lucia (UVF)
  • Must have purchased ticket by: August 26
  • Rebooked travel must occur between August 26-September 5
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference. No changes in origin or destination are allowed.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.


  • Travel dates: August 26-29
  • Covered airports: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ); Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI); Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ); St. Lucia (UVF)
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: August 26
  • Tickets must be reissued by: September 5
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: September 5
  • Changes to origins and destinations may result in an increase in fare. Any difference in fare between your original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of booking.
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond September 5, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue.
  • If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates.


  • Travel dates: August 26-30
  • Covered airports: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) and San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
  • Customers who are ticketed to travel between August 26 and August 30, who purchased tickets on or before August 25, may make one itinerary change – rules/restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived.
  • Travel must be completed no later than September 20. Origin and destination cities may be changed. Customers whose flights are cancelled may request a refund.


  • Wednesday (8/28/2019) 110 PHL-SJU; 111 SJU-PHL; 102 RDU-SJU; 103 SJU-RDU; 106 MCO-SJU; 107 SJU-MCO; 108 PHL-SJU; 104 MCO-SJU; 022 PHL-PUJ; 023 PUJ-PHL
  • Thursday (8/29/2019) 105 SJU-MCO and 109 SJU-PHL


  • Travel dates: August 28-29
  • Covered airports: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (BQN); Ponce, Puerto Rico (PSE); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
  • Customers may rebook their flights for travel through September 1
  • Original travel must have been booked on or before August 26
  • Customers with cancelled flights may also opt for a refund to the original form of payment
  • Make the change online in the ‘Manage Flights’ section of or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight


  • Travel dates: August 26-30
  • Covered airports: Providenciales, Turks And Caicos Islands (PLS); Punta Cana, DO (PUJ); San Juan, PR (SJU)
  • Travel dates: August 27-September 1
  • Covered airports: Nassua, Bahamas (NAS)
  • Travel dates: August 31-September 2
  • Covered airports: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL); Orlando, Florida (MCO); West Palm Beach, Florida (PBI)
  • Customers who are holding reservations to/from/through the cities listed above on the corresponding dates, may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.
  • Customers who purchased their itinerary via or our mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device. Customers who did not purchase a ticket via can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.


  • Travel dates: August 27-30
  • Covered airports: Aguadilla, PR (BQN); Port-au-Prince, HT (PAP); Punta Cana, DO (PUJ); Santo Domingo, DO (SDQ); San Juan, PR (SJU); Santiago, DO (STI)
  • Modification Charge/Fare Difference waived through: September 5, 2019
  • After this date, the modification charge is waived, but a fare difference may apply.
  • Guests can make changes to their reservations affected by this event by going to our Manage Travel page, or by calling the Spirit Reservations Center at 801-401-2222 to make their flight changes. To make changes to Spirit Vacation packages contact Spirit Vacations at 954-379-8866.


  • Travel dates: August 28-29
  • Covered airports: Aguadilla, PR, US (BQN); Punta Cana, DO (PUJ);​ San Juan, PR, US (SJU)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before September 1, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​​
  • Tickets must have been purchased by: August 26

Protect Your Travels

Hurricane Dorian is another reminder to book flights with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. When I got stuck in Japan for four extra days due to a typhoon, I was very grateful for the Citi Prestige’s trip delay protection, which reimbursed $1,000 of our expenses.

Unfortunately Trip Delay Protection is being eliminated on the Citi Prestige -- and all other Citi cards -- for flights booked on or after September 22, 2019. Starting then, I'll be using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book my flights going forward. Other top choices are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card -- which each offer protection starting with a 6-hour delay. In addition, there are six other cards where the protections kick in after a 12-hour delay.

The information for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Featured image by (Photo by stevegeer / Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.