Airlines have canceled more than 1,100 flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday in the Carolinas and Virginia as Hurricane Florence bears down on the East Coast with 100 mph winds.
The Category 2 hurricane could bring more than 2 feet of rainfall along the North Carolina coast and in northeastern South Carolina that would produce "catastrophic flash flooding," the National Hurricane Center warned.
Charleston International Airport closed Wednesday night and will remain shut until at least Friday, a spokeswoman said. Operations were also suspended at a dozen other airports in the region. Southwest Airlines will stop flying out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Thursday through at least Friday night. American Airlines canceled more than 800 flights in and out of the region through Sunday, but said it did not expect the storm to cause it to cancel flights in its Charlotte hub.
American, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines said they capped some airfares at levels below what last-minute tickets would cost. Airlines were criticized on social media last year when fares soared ahead of storms. Last-minute fares generally spike during periods of high demand and airlines have to change prices manually for events like a large storm.
Carriers are also waiving fees for changing flights, baggage and for in-cabin pets for travelers who could be affected by the storm. Delta said it added about 1,000 seats to its service to the Carolinas ahead of Florence