Hurricane Ida Impacts Gulf Coast Aviation

As Hurricane Ida prepares to make landfall as a category four storm, airlines across the Gulf Coast are canceling flights. The latest figures show Ida strengthening as it moves across the warm Gulf waters. Hurricane hunter aircraft are now reporting sustained winds of 130 mph (209 km/h).

Aircraft Silhouette Storm
As Ida prepares to make landfall Gulf Coast Airports close. Getty Images)

Ironically, Ida looks to batter the Louisiana coast on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, with New Orleans already calling for people living in low-lying areas to leave. When speaking about the threat of the storm with CNN director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Collin Arnold, said:

“August 29 is an important date in history here; a lot of people remember what happened 16 years ago. It’s time to hunker down tonight and be where you need to be.” On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused over 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in damage.

Airlines issue travel warnings

In response to the impending hurricane, American Airlines put out a travel alert saying that 12 airports in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, could be impacted by the storm. The nations third-largest carrier Delta Air Lines has issued a travel advisory for the following airports:

  • Alexandria International Airport (AEX)
  • Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR)
  • Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR)
  • Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT)
  • Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN)
  • Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT)
  • Mobile Regional Airport (MOB)
  • Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (LOU)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MYS)
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MYS)
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MYS) closed early Sunday morning. Photo: MSY

What can I do if my flight is canceled?

If your flight is canceled due to a situation beyond the airline’s control (Hurricane Ida), no federal regulation says that an airline is required to accommodate you. However, many airlines will do the best they can to help.

Four steps to take if your flight is canceled:

  1. Contact the airline right away to rebook your flight or to ask for a refund.
  2. During situations like Hurricane Ida, airline reservation agents are bound to be inundated with calls. Instead of waiting on hold, visit the airlines’ website or use their app to rebook or cancel your flight.
  3. If the airline you are flying with cannot accommodate you on another flight and you have found a flight that works with another carrier, ask the agent to book you on the other flight.
  4. Consider leaving from another airport that the weather has not affected. In the case of the Gulf Coast, check the status of Shreveport or Montgomery airports.

Areas could be without power for weeks

It is also worth pointing out that if you were planning to travel to the Gulf Coast for business or pleasure during the coming days, you might want to rethink your plans. On Saturday, the National Weather Service issued the following warning:

“Please understand this; there is the possibility that conditions could be unliveable along the coast for some time, and areas around New Orleans and Baton Rouge could be without power for weeks.”

Currently forecast to make landfall on Sunday afternoon as a category 4 hurricane, Ida has the potential to become one of the worst hurricanes in the history of Louisiana.

Hurricane Ida
Parts of Louisiana could be without power for weeks. Image: National Hurricane Center

When speaking about the storm during a press conference last night, Louisiana Governor John Edwards said that the time to leave had passed and that residents now needed to hunker down and ride out the storm.

Has Hurricane Ida affected your travel plans? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.