Delta cancels 80 flights due to Hurricane Michael, Hartsfield-Jackson monitoring storm

Florida businesses boarding up ahead of Hurricane Michael

Delta Air Lines has canceled about 80 flights due to Hurricane Michael.

Atlanta-based Delta said the cancellations include more flight disruptions Wednesday evening and Thursday at Tallahassee, Panama City and Destin - Fort Walton Beach.

The airline canceled all of its flights Wednesday in those cities as well as in Albany, Valdosta and Dothan. It plans to resume flights at those airports Thursday morning if facilities and infrastructure are adequate.

Delta said it plans to resume flights in Pensacola on Wednesday evening as the storm passes.

And it will move planes from Augusta and Savannah to Atlanta on Wednesday night instead of leaving them in Michael’s path overnight.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport said it is continuing to monitor the effects of Hurricane Michael and its potential effects in Atlanta.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Twitter warned of the possibility of thunderstorm-related delays Wednesday at Hartsfield-Jackson.

By the time the hurricane arrives in Atlanta, “we expect it to be a rain event. We don’t expect it to impact our operations much,” said Hartsfield-Jackson spokeswoman Elise Durham.

“But we are monitoring that and working with our partners and airlines, and making sure we take care of our passengers” should there be a need for water or blankets, she said.

Delta said Wednesday it does not anticipate disruptions at its Atlanta hub since the storm will turn to the northeast. “Atlanta will see rain and high winds overnight Wednesday into Thursday, but those will remain within viable limits during Delta’s normal operating hours at Hartsfield-Jackson International,” according to Delta.

Delta Air Lines had begun canceling flights Tuesday, mostly at airports in Florida, where some airports closed in advance of the hurricane. Other airlines also canceled flights.

On Wednesday, Delta canceled more flights and expanded its waiver of change fees to Brunswick, Columbus and Savannah, Ga. and Columbia, S.C., in addition to Albany, Augusta, Dothan, Fort Walton Beach, Mobile, Panama City, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Valdosta. The waiver allows passengers with flights booked to, from or through to those cities to make a change in their travel plans without paying certain change fees.

For areas of Florida heavily hit by the hurricane, the effects on flights is significant. In addition to flight cancellations, the FAA also said flights that are not canceled may be delayed. Travelers should check with their airline for flight status before heading to the airport.

"Once Hurricane Michael makes ground fall, airports may be listed as open but flooding on local roadways may limit access to airports for passengers, as well as the employees who work for the airlines or at the airport," the FAA said in a written statement. "As a result, every aspect of your trip to the airport, including parking, checking in, getting through security and boarding may take longer than usual.

The FAA said it closely monitors hurricanes and prepares its facilities and equipment to withstand storms. When winds reach the maximum wind sustainability of a control tower, controllers evacuate to a lower level.

“We prepare and protect air traffic control facilities along the projected storm path so we can quickly resume operations after the hurricane passes,” according to the FAA. “Enabling flights to resume quickly is critical to support disaster relief efforts.”