Flights resume to Florida as airports reopen following Hurricane Ian

BOSTON — Several airports in Florida are reopening today after being closed for two days because of Hurricane Ian. The category four storm ravaged the coast of Southwest Florida, and now some are anxious to get back to start cleaning up.

Two of the biggest airports that closed, Tampa International Airport and Orlando International opened back up to travelers on Friday.

Tampa’s airport had been closed since Tuesday evening---as the storm took aim at Florida’s Gulf Coast. Orlando’s airport closed Wednesday morning---where heavy rain and winds made it too dangerous to fly. Both airports did not sustain any major damage from Hurricane Ian. The airports tweeted that, after talking with the national weather service and aviation officials, they made the decision to reopen Friday to commercial passengers.

Boston 25 News spoke with a man at Logan Airport who was originally from Boston but now lives in St. Pete and he said he first evacuated to Tennessee and then came up to Boston for 24 hours for work. He headed back home Friday morning where he said his house lost power and had some storm debris.

“It’s good to see how seriously people in the state take it and how many people evacuated,” said Tash Elwyn of St. Petersburg. “We can rebuild. Houses are replaceable and my heart really aches for those of us who are further south of us who took the brunt of this.”

As of Friday morning, the airport in Fort Myers remained closed, except for emergency personnel and humanitarian flights. That airport says as soon as it has power and water restored, it will reopen for commercial flights.

Thousands of flights have been canceled over the last few days and it could be tough trying to find a flight back to some of the hardest hit areas. Some airlines are setting deadlines for making changes to trips, but all travelers whose flights were canceled are eligible for refunds, according to the US Department of Transportation. A woman from Sarasota who had been in Boston for the past week told Boston 25 News she was glued to the tv and got on a flight early to head back home to see her kids who live in Port Charlotte.

“It’s emotional, it’s emotional,” said Judy Kozlowski of Sarasota. “I feel very blessed that my home is ok and my heart hurts for the people who aren’t as fortunate. It’s life and as long as people don’t take it for granted and think everything is going to be ok I’m glad that a lot of people did what they needed to do.”

Kozlowski said she tried to fly into Sarasota, but that airport is still closed. While the airports are reopening, some airlines still might have some changes. So your best bet is to check your flight status online first before heading to the airport.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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