Delta has proactively cancelled approximately 85 flights, primarily scheduled for Thursday, to and from cities along the storm’s path as Hurricane Florence continues its approach to the Carolina coast.
Airports in Charleston, S.C., Fayetteville, N.C., Jacksonville, N.C., and Wilmington, N.C., closed Wednesday evening after the arrival of most flights and will remain closed through Thursday, possibly longer. Additional adjustments to flights may be necessary after facilities and infrastructure evaluations. Customers are encouraged to visit Delta.com or use the Fly Delta Mobile App to make changes to their flight and get up-to-date flight status updates.
Delta has added a total of 1,200 seats via extra flights and upsized aircraft in the storm’s path. The airline has also expanded its travel waiver to include Asheville, N.C., (AVL), Augusta, Ga., (AGS) and Greenville/Spartanburg S.C., (GSP) in addition to extending the impacted travel dates covered by the waiver through Sept. 17. The airline has also waived baggage and pet-in-cabin fees.
Adding more seats to the schedule before Florence’s impact is part of Delta’s effort to help residents leave the area ahead of the storm, which is expected to bring rainfall totaling more than 20 inches and destructive winds projected to reach speeds of over 100 mph around Wilmington, N.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Delta has a history of adding flights and upsizing aircraft before storms to help evacuation efforts as well as providing additional cargo and passenger capacity after storms to aid in relief efforts.
The airline remains in constant contact with local airline employees and leaders to address the needs of customers and employees as they face the Category 3 storm. Delta has already sent critical supplies such as water, satellite phones for use in case cellular networks are disrupted, and other devices to help employees operate ticket counter and gate functions in the event of power outages. A customer service employee Go Team is at the ready to travel to the most affected airports if necessary to provide assistance to restart flight operations once airports reopen.
Delta leaders emphasized employee safety during an operational briefing Wednesday afternoon, with one leader saying, “Nothing is more important than taking care of our employees and customers. Make sure you’re in a safe place to ride out this storm well in advance of this storm impacting your location. Look at emergency action plans and ensure you’re prepared.”
John Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Safety, Security & Compliance, added, “Put your own safety and your team’s safety first. That’s the best way we can support ourselves and our customers.”