SAA puts contingency plan in place for Irma-affected passengers

2017-09-08 09:02 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - Mass evacuations and flight cancellations are underway as Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc across parts of the Caribbean, headed for the US. 

South African Airways have confirmed it will waive rebooking fees to all customers whose flights are affected by Hurricane Irma.

Dubbed the most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane, Irma has pounded Caribbean islands, shredding homes and weather records and leaving at least 12 people dead as it honed in on the United States, where up to a million people have been told to flee. 

SEE: FlightRadar Pic: Unbelievable! Daring Delta flight braves Irma for quick stop in Puerto Rico 

SAA has also offered rebooking assistance to any customers that have booked SAA flights to Caribbean and Florida airports via New York and Washington.

SAA spokesperson Tali Tali says, "This free assistance will be offered to those who started travelling on Wednesday, 6 September through to Tuesday, 12 September, and rebookings can only be made for flights up to 19 September 2017."

SEE: UPDATE: Florida flights cancelled in preparation for Irma

Other conditions that apply:

  • Change of cabin will not be permitted
  • Change of routing will only be permitted if using another SAA gateway, namely Washington or New York.
  • Tickets must be re-issued by 12 September.

Affected customers can contact any SAA call centre at +27 11 978 1111, the North American call centre at +1 800 722 9675 or their travel agent for rebooking support.

US airlines have added extra seats to their flights out of Florida, despite accusations of exorbitant price hikes during the crisis, according to AP.

Hurricane Irma has devastated many Caribbean islands as it heads to Florida, where it's expected to land around Friday afternoon.

WATCH: Irma ‘strongest hurricane in US history’ wreaks havoc in Caribbean

10 000 tourists evacuate from Cuba

AFP reported that Cuba has evacuated 10 000 foreign tourists from beach resorts and raised its disaster alert level to maximum as Hurricane Irma rapidly approached the Caribbean's biggest island on Thursday.

Most of the tourists were evacuated from around the beaches and cays in the exposed east and centre of the island, the tourism ministry said.

Hurricane Irma is set to sideswipe Cuba in the early hours of Friday morning.

The capital Havana, with a population of two million, is outside the probable trajectory and has been put on a lower level of alert by the authorities.

Another hurricane formed in the Atlantic, and is now the third biggest this year. Hurricane Jose's winds have reached 195 km/h and is currently following the same track as Hurricane Irma. 

SEE: What to do when your flight gets cancelled

What to read next on Traveller24

FlightRadar Pic: Unbelievable! Daring Delta flight braves Irma for quick stop in Puerto Rico 

UPDATE: Florida flights cancelled in preparation for Irma 

WATCH: Tourists evacuate as monster Hurricane Irma hits Caribbean with 300km/h winds