Airlines brace themselves, passengers for Hurricane Irma

American Airlines

Hurricane Irma, one of the largest storms to ever form in the Atlantic has already caused destruction and loss of lives in the Caribbean.

A Delta-operated flight from NY to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and back, made headlines for narrowly avoiding the storm in a mission to evacuate another plane-full of passengers from the area ahead of Irma's landfall.

The flight touched down at noon and spent just 41 minutes loading passengers.

At the time of publishing, the forecast for Hurricane Irma shows it heading toward the west coast of Florida. The airline credited the successful flight to the tight coordination of its staff and fortuitous timing.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, had maximum sustained winds of 180 miles per hour as of 5 a.m. Thursday morning as it moved away from the northern coast of Puerto Rico and over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Airports like Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Key West are packed to the doors. Lauderdale, that could be a pretty big deal. The airport has as many as 2,800 daily departures, and roughly 275,000 passengers each day.

Miami airport said it would cease operations in its control tower when winds rose above 55 miles per hour.

American added flights with more than 3,600 seats to evacuate residents from Miami and capped one-way fares in coach at $99 and $199 for premium seats ahead of the storm and September 10 through September 17.

'American now plans to resume limited operations when the airport reopens, ' the airline said, noting federal agencies must assess whether the airport can reopen.

Tropical Storm Irma could bring strong winds, heavy rain to Alabama today
Florida Governor Rick Scott delivered a strong warning Saturday morning as Hurricane Irma threatens parts of the Sunshine State. Irma as of about noon Saturday was near the north coast of Cuba and 175 miles southeast of Key West with winds of 125 mph.

Both airports reported hundreds of cancellations over the weekend as Irma began its approach.

"Hurricane Irma is expected to bring to the Atlanta hub strong crosswinds that exceed operating limits on select mainline and regional aircraft", Delta said on Monday. 747 flying from Detroit to Orlando on Friday, said Morgan Durrant, a Delta spokesman.

Spirit Airlines said late Friday that it shuttered its Miramar, Florida headquarters and move its operations center to its backup in Detroit.

Pardo booked the only flight she could find leaving the city, to Orlando, where she reserved two seats on a bus bound for Tallahassee on Friday.

United was still tallying the damage from Harvey.

Louisiana-Monroe had scheduled a charter flight to Tallahassee, but sports information director John Lewandowski said the school was in the process of canceling the flight as well as hotel rooms.

"This is a hurricane that I've never seen before, so we are preparing here", Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said Thursday in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.

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