How to change travel plans as Hurricane Irma bears down

Personal Finance


Florida Gov. Rick Scott pre-emptively declared a state of emergency Monday, to prepare the state for Irma. Tuesday, he took additional steps including activating some National Guard members to assist with storm preparations and suspended tolls statewide to make it easier for residents to evacuate.

“While the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” Scott said in a statement Monday. “This state of emergency allows our emergency management officials to act swiftly in the best interest of Floridians without the burden of bureaucracy or red tape.”

The ease with which you can shift plans depends on where and when you’re traveling. (See infographic below for tips.)

Major airlines — including American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United — have issued travel advisories related to Hurricane Irma and are waiving the change fees for travelers to reschedule their flights. As of early Wednesday, those advisories have expanded to include many Florida airports, as well as destinations in the Bahamas, Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean. But the eligible airports and travel dates vary.

As of Wednesday morning, Irma has affected 25 cruise sailings, including 10 cancellations, according to CruiseCritic.com. Policies vary by line, the site says; in many cases, passengers on canceled sailings will receive full refunds and those on shortened sailings, partial refunds. Some lines are also offering extras like reimbursed flight change fees and credits for future sailings.



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