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British travellers jetting off to Florida’s tourist hotspots escape the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael
- Orlando, home to Florida’s theme parks, is over 300 miles away from Panhandle
- The area has not been affected by Hurricane Michael and is operating as usual
- UK-based airlines say flights to and from Orlando and Miami are on schedule
Jennifer Newton for MailOnline
Despite Hurricane Michael battering Florida, it appears to be business as usual for British travellers heading to and from tourist hot spots in the state.
The category four storm barreled into the Florida Panhandle with winds of 155mph, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. It was the most powerful storm to ever hit the region.
But in Orlando, almost 300 miles away, the international airport was operating as normal as were the city’s famous theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.
A house is reduced to rubble after being obliterated by Hurricane Michael in Panama City on the Florida Panhandle
And it was the same picture in Miami, almost 500 miles from where the storm made landfall, and there were only 10 flight cancellations at Miami International Airport.
Orlando International Airport tweeted and reassured passengers by saying: ‘#Michael is not expected to cause a major impact to MCO operations, but check with your airline for the latest flight status before heading to the airport.’
And airlines British Airways, Delta and Thomas Cook confirmed to MailOnline Travel that flights and holidays to Florida from the UK had not been impacted by the weather so far.
Only American Airlines has cancelled a flight from the UK as a result of the hurricane. It is their service from London Heathrow to Raleigh Durham Airport in North Carolina, which is mainly aimed at business travellers.
However, for those heading to areas close to where the hurricane hit or where it could head next are being warned to take extra care and check their travel plans.
Orlando International Airport tweeted to say that the storm was not expected to cause major disruption there
The UK Foreign Office warned that life-threatening storm surges, flooding and very dangerous winds were expected in parts of Georgia and Alabama.
It advised: ‘A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Alabama, southern and central Georgia, and across South Carolina.
‘You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation or “shelter in place” orders.
A grocery store in Saint Marks, Florida, is left flooded in the wake of Hurricane Michael. The Foreign Office says Brits heading to affected areas of Florida should monitor local weather updates
People survey the damage to a building in Panama City, Florida. There have been disruptions at airports closer to where the hurricane hit
While an ABTA spokesman added: Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend regions and into portions of southeast Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and southeast Virginia.
‘Customers currently in this region are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities, their accommodation providers and travel providers.
‘Michael has now been downgraded to a Tropical storm. According to forecasts, on its current track, Michael will travel in a north-easterly direction and the centre of Michael will move through eastern Georgia into central South Carolina, then move across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and south eastern Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean by late tonight or early Friday.
‘Customers on package holidays due to travel imminently to the affected parts of Florida and other affected states should liaise with their tour operators.
‘Customers travelling independently should read the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice, check with their accommodation provider and follow guidance from local authorities to the letter.’
And the three major airlines flying inside the US have made preparations in case schedules have to be disrupted.
As the storm moves north, it could hit Georgia, and Atlanta Airport says it will be monitoring the hurricane closely
Yesterday, Delta cancelled all flights for Panama City, Tallahassee, Destin-Fort Walton Beach , Albany, Ga. , Valdosta, Ga. and Dothan, Ala.
The airline expects to resume flights at these airports this morning, pending an assessment of facilities and infrastructure.
Since Tuesday, Delta has cancelled nearly 80 scheduled flights as a result of Michael with additional disruptions possible.
It is now advising passengers to check their flight status on their airline’s website before setting off to the airport.
United Airlines, meanwhile, has a travel waiver in place meaning passengers flying to several airports can opt to travel after the storm passes.
These airports include: Atlanta, Charleston, Columbia, Ft. Walton Beach, FL, Greenville-Spartanburg, Mobile, Myrtle Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Savannah.
American Airlines also has a travel waiver in place for flights to and from Augusta, Destin / Fort Walton Beach, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Hilton Head, Mobile, Myrtle Beach, Panama City, Florida, Pensacola, Savannah and Tallahassee.
Meanwhile the advice from the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is to check the flight status with airlines.
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British travellers in Florida tourist hotspots escape the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael