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Isaac causes travel disruptions in Florida, Gulf states

 

After hundreds of weather-related flight cancellations throughout South Florida in recent days, travel is expected to be closer to the norm Tuesday.

hsampson@MiamiHerald.com

South Florida air and sea travel should return to normal by Tuesday, but cities along the nation’s northern Gulf will continue to be affected by tropical weather.

Monday was problematic for local travelers, especially in Miami-Dade, where 158 flights were canceled and 117 were delayed. A dozen flights were canceled and 30 delayed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

With PortMiami closed until Monday afternoon, a few cruise ships returned later than expected. Carnival Valor was supposed to return Sunday, but instead arrived Monday night. Carnival Imagination returned — and eventually left — later than normal.

Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas, which had originally been scheduled back at Port Everglades Sunday, is set instead to return Tuesday — an inconvenience for passengers who stayed on the ship longer than expected and those who had to find temporary lodging or change flight plans.

Both Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean offered compensation to passengers who were affected.

“It’s been a mess,” said Dan Askin, senior editor for the website CruiseCritic.com, which has covered the upheaval.

Askin said chatter on the site’s message boards has included talk about the wisdom of cruising during hurricane season.

“There are some people that say, ‘Absolutely, I’m not going to do that,’” he said. “There are other people that say as long as they know what they’re in for, they’re willing to take the chance and grab a good deal — but this kind of thing can happen.”

With hundreds of flights to New Orleans expected to be canceled Tuesday and Wednesday, it could be days before the air travel system is operating normally. “It could be a cascading effect throughout the holiday weekend,” said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com.

Air travelers whose plans are being washed out by Isaac should be able to change their flights without penalty — though some conditions apply.

Airlines are posting weather policies online, but most are waiving change fees and some are not charging for the difference in rebooked fares for people who were supposed to travel to affected airports.

This report was supplemented with information from the Associated Press.

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