Hurricane Florence grounds nearly 1,000 flights

More than 13,000 flights were delayed in anticipation of the storm hitting the eastern coast of the US

Nearly 900 flights had to be cancelled on Wednesday evening as Hurricane Florence approached the east coast of the United States.

According to the website FlightAware, a total of 893 flights were grounded and 13,438 delayed as of 6:30 pm on Wednesday.

Carriers operating connections between the impacted destinations have been reacting to the storm by offering refunds and waiving flight change fees for affected airports.

Delta Air Lines has announced a policy that entitles passengers to claim a refund in case their flight is affected or delayed more than 90 minutes. Destinations expected to be hit by the storm include Charleston and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington in North Carolina; and Norfolk and Richmond in Virginia.

The carrier is also waiving baggage and in-cabin pet fees for several cities until 17 September.

With a hub in Charlotte, American Airlines are waiving change fees until 19 September. The measure involves 23 airports in the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia.

United Airlines will not charge flight change fees for routes including 16 impacted airports until 16 September, while Southwest has implemented the same measure for nine airports.

Jet Blue will waive cancellation and change fees as well as fare differences for customers travelling to or from impacted airports until 16 September.

However, it is too soon to evaluate the impact of the storm.

“Once Hurricane Florence makes a ground fall, airports may be listed as open but flooding on local roadways may limit access to airports for passengers, as well as the employees who work for the airlines or at the airport. As a result, every aspect of your trip to the airport, including parking, checking in, getting through security and boarding may take longer than usual,” the  Federal Aviation Administration warned.

Passengers who may be affected by the storm are advised to check the status of their flights.