Skip to main content

A satellite image shows Hurricane Florence approaching the U.S. East Coast on Sept. 13, 2018. Airlines have cancelled more than 1,200 flights and some of the largest airports on the coast of the Carolinas are closed through Sept. 14.

JOSE ROMERO/NOAA/AFP

The annual autumnal battle between hurricanes and North America’s airlines has begun raging, with the airlines, as always, in full retreat.

As Hurricane Florence bore down on the Carolinas this week, airlines cancelled more than 1,200 flights. Some of the largest airports on the coasts of North and South Carolina are closed through Friday.

The next concern for airlines is Tropical Storm Isaac, which threatens to hammer vacation destinations in the Caribbean, as Hurricanes Irma and Maria did last year.

Story continues below advertisement

Airports in Wilmington, N.C., and Charleston, S.C., have shut, but the flight cancellations extend to airports inland based on the size and strength of Florence.

Air Canada cancelled its four return flights between Toronto and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., for Thursday and Friday, and is reviewing its weekend flights there. The two flights between Toronto and Charlotte, N.C., scheduled for Saturday have been cancelled and Sunday flights are under review.

The airline’s daily flight to Savannah, Ga., has been cancelled through Sunday.

"While the weather itself is an issue operationally, of more importance is that our people have to be safe and so it may not be possible for them to get to work, particularly in evacuation areas,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. cancelled its return flight on Friday between Toronto and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Travellers booked on the Friday flight out of Myrtle Beach were brought back earlier on another airline.

Isaac has not caused WestJet to cancel any flights to the Caribbean yet, but the airline has waived change fees for travellers to Barbados.

Given the storms, airlines have urged passengers with trips booked to potentially affected areas to check with their departure airport to make sure flights will take off as planned.

Story continues below advertisement

U.S. airlines also waived change fees and other charges for passengers on flights in and near the Carolinas and on some Caribbean routes as Isaac grows stronger.

They cancelled flights into and out of Wilmington International and Charleston International this week, and even some flights from the coast to inland cities such as Columbia, S.C., and Raleigh-Durham.

U.S. carriers were also waiting to see what impact Florence could have on airports near Washington and in northern Virginia.

American Airlines said it has cancelled 565 flights through Sunday. Southwest Airlines cancelled 264.

Those cancellations and others are expected to ripple through the system and cause delays elsewhere in the Southeastern United States.

Separately, Toronto-Dominion Bank said it will close 17 of its 61 branches in South Carolina and two of 14 in North Carolina.

Story continues below advertisement

“We will reopen these stores only after we have conducted a post-hurricane assessment and determined that it is safe for our employees and customers to return,” the bank said in a statement.

With a report from the Associated Press

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter