Flying in or out of Florida this week? Here’s what you need to know about Hurricane Ian

Pedro Portal/pportal@miamiherald.com

Airports across Florida are bracing for the impact from Hurricane Ian with dozens of flight cancellations and some closing their doors.

Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport remain open, but travelers should stay vigilant this week as numerous flights are expected to be canceled or delayed.

“South Florida is outside of the cone, so as far as we’re concerned, we don’t expect this to turn into a wholesale cancellation of flights,” said Greg Chin, the communications director at MIA.

Farther north in the state, near Ian’s expected impact, Tampa International Airport has closed to visitors and Orlando International Airport is preparing to do the same.

Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport reported 50 flight cancellations on Tuesday, as Hurricane Ian moves north toward Florida.

The 22 arrivals and 28 departures canceled were for flights to or from Tampa, Key West, Cuba, Orlando, Barbados, St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. MIA officials say they expect similar numbers of cancellations on Wednesday and Thursday.

The hurricane is expected to affect Florida and other southern states through Saturday, so Chin warned that passengers may see cancellations and delays for the rest of this week. After the hurricane makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday or Thursday, travelers going south are less likely to be affected, while those traveling north will be more likely to be impacted.

American Airlines, the largest airline at MIA, has issued a “travel alert” at 20 airports it serves in Florida and the Caribbean. The airline is allowing passengers flying to or from those destinations on any day between Sept. 23 and Oct. 1 to reschedule their flights free of charge. Travelers who don’t want to reschedule a canceled flight can “request” a refund. The airline says that changes must be booked by Oct. 1.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reported 22 cancellations as of 6 p.m. Tuesday — 10 departures and 12 arrivals involving Tampa, Havana, Nassau, Charlotte and Key West.

The airport will remain operational this week since South Florida is expected to remain out of the cone of concern, a spokesperson for the airport said.

“It’s likely there could be some flight delays and cancellations at FLL over the next few days due to bad weather and airline operational disruptions caused by Hurricane Ian, but it’s too early to say how many and for how long,” FLL said in a statement.

Passengers should check for the latest updates on their flights through their airline and be sure they are signed up to get alerts about their flight’s status. Officials recommend that if passengers experience a flight cancellation, they should stay home or at their hotel and work out their new travel plans on the phone or internet, rather than crowd the airport.

Spirit Airlines, the largest carrier at FLL, is also allowing passengers flying to, from or through Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando or Tampa between Sept. 27 and Sept. 30 to reschedule their flight with no fees or penalties. Customers have until Oct. 3 to reschedule their flight free of charge.

Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport is bracing for a hard hit and was closed to all visitors at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“The 5 p.m. closure will allow the Airport to prepare the airfield and terminals, including the securing of jet bridges, ground equipment, and any remaining aircraft,” the airport said Monday night. “The airport, including the main terminal, airsides, and parking garages will be closed to all visitors at that time.”

READ MORE: Hurricane Ian’s first bands are lashing Florida

Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport will be stopping all commercial flights starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, airport officials said.

“The Orlando International Airport is prepared for the arrival and impact of Hurricane Ian,” the airport said on Twitter. “We remind the general public that the airport is not a designated shelter and information regarding official shelters can be found on the Orange County website.”

Parking garages and facilities will also be closed at that time. The airport is advising all travelers to get in contact with their airlines directly for updates regarding their flights.

Southwest Florida International Airport

Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida International Airport announced that it will shut down at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Consumers should watch out for price gouging if airlines push up fares sharply during a crisis. Attorney General Ashley Moody opened a price gouging hotline at 866-966-7226, where consumers can report exorbitant prices to the state.

Miami Herald staff writers Devoun Cetoute and Omar Rodríguez Ortiz contributed to this report.