The coming week could get off to a rough start for air travelers scheduled to fly through the world’s busiest airport.
While the airline industry’s current focus on Hurricane Irma centers on Florida – where nearly 7,000 flights have already been canceled – the storm could begin affecting schedules in Atlanta by Monday.
Current forecasts called for Irma to make landfall this weekend in Florida, but it’s then forecast to track north into Georgia and toward metro Atlanta. While Irma will likely lose hurricane status by the time it would get there, it was likely to still be packing enough wind and rain to cause possible disruptions there.
Delta, which operates its busiest hub in Atlanta, is taking the threat seriously. The carrier urged customers ticketed to connect through Atlanta early next week to consider changing their itineraries to connect through a different Delta hub.
“As Delta meteorologists continue to track Hurricane Irma, strong winds and extended rain are expected in Atlanta starting Monday and could impact flights at the hub,” Delta said in a Saturday statement. “Customers with itineraries involving Atlanta Monday afternoon through Tuesday are encouraged to use delta.com to change their travel plans."
Delta's move came as all big U.S. airlines have added flexible rebooking policies for Irma that cover travel through airports in Florida and the Southeast. In addition to Florida and Georgia, many of the various rebooking policies have grown to include some airports in Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.
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