Hayley Berg - Thu Jan 01 1970
Hurricane Idalia is bearing down on Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas today and tomorrow, bringing inclement weather that has already grounded thousands of flights. As the busy Labor Day weekend travel period kicks off tomorrow, nearly 400,000 passengers were scheduled to depart from airports in the direct path of Idalia on Thursday and Friday. Orlando was set to be the 9th busiest airport over Labor Day weekend, expecting nearly 700K departing passengers from Thursday to Tuesday of the weekend. These travelers, as well as those already canceled or delayed today, are likely to experience delays, cancellations and potential re-routes as a result of the inclement weather.
Across the US, 7 million passengers will be departing on flights for Labor Day weekend on Thursday and Friday of this week. Passengers across the nation may feel the ripple effect of bad weather in the south east due to delayed or canceled inbound aircrafts. Whether you’re departing from an airport in Idalia’s path or not, be prepared for longer lines and potential disruptions all weekend.
Estimated Passenger Traffic – Scheduled for Departure Thursday/Friday of LDW
Labor Day Weekend Outlook
More than 20 million seats will depart from US airports from Thursday to Tuesday of Labor Day Weekend, an increase of 14% compared to this time last year. Domestic capacity will rise 14% vs last year while international capacity will rise 10%.
Airports will be busiest on Friday before the long weekend with 3.7MM seats expected to depart from airports across the US. Monday is the busiest day to return, seeing 3.6MM seats departing at the end of the long weekend.
Atlanta and Denver will be busiest over the long weekend, with each expecting 1.5MM and 1MN seats to depart respectively. Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago will also be hot spots with more than 800K seats scheduled to depart.
How to prepare for busy airports this holiday weekend?
With Idalia bearing down on much of the south east coast of the US this weekend, thousands of travelers are likely to feel the ripple effects of airport closures as well as canceled and delayed flights. We’ve rounded up our best tips for avoiding or managing disruptions this Labor Day Weekend:
What to do within 24 hours of your trip:
Know what options you have available: Know what other flights are headed to your destination the same day as your trip in case you’re disrupted and need to get on another flight.
Know what’s included with your ticket. Do you have the option to change your flight with no fees? If so, consider changing to after a storm is expected.
Check airline policies. Some airlines may offer compensation or travel credit if your flight is canceled within a few hours of departure. Other carriers may offer hotel stays for passengers whose flights are canceled. Know what policies are offered by your airline ahead of time. Many carriers will often waive change fees due to weather, so be sure you’re up to date on your airline’s latest policy.
Sign up for alerts & check flight status before you go to the airport. You’ll want to know about delays and cancellations as early as possible. On most U.S. carriers, passengers can sign up for text, email, and/or in-app notifications about any changes to their itinerary including delay and cancellations. Travelers using the Hopper app are also notified as soon as we are aware of any disruptions. Always check your flight status before heading to the airport so you know about delays ahead of time.
If you’re delayed/canceled:
Utilize Trip Protection - If you booked with trip protection, like Hopper’s Flight Disruption Guarantee, you can try to rebook your flight immediately and see what options are available. We’ve seen a 10% increase in travelers adding trip protection since news of the hurricane surfaced.
Contact the airline/customer service - Head to the airline ticket agents’ counter ASAP. Pro tip: multi-task! Call the airline call center while you’re waiting in line.
If you’re already at the airport, find a self-serve kiosk at the airport - Some airlines offer self-serve kiosks right in the airport. Scan your boarding pass/enter your trip details and you may be able to rebook yourself on a new flight and print a new boarding pass right from there.
Make changes online or on the airline’s app - Many carriers allow you to find a new flight and rebook directly on their website or in the app.
You could save up to 40% on your next flight!