August 2008

Amy Bradley-HoleWe decided to have a Labor Day party weekend at my parents’ house in Louisiana a couple of weeks ago. My husband and the kids and I drove down from Little Rock, and my brother flew in from Los Angeles to bring the new girlfriend home for the first time. But it’s that other visitor, Hurricane Gustav, who has us feeling uncomfortable.

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With Hurricane Gustav expected to make landfall in the next 24 hours, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is about to close to all commercial flights.

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Friends of mine who live in New Orleans were on the road heading to higher ground this morning. The New Orleans airport is closing at 6 pm this evening (Sunday). Some airlines have been adding larger aircraft to flights, getting thousands of additional customers out of harms way. But what are the policies about nonrefundable tickets on most of America’s largest airlines in the wake of this hurricane.

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Tropical Storm Hanna and I are scheduled to arrive in the Bahamas at about the same time. She’s tracking west-northwest at about 10 knots, according to the National Hurricane Center, and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane in the next few days. I’m scheduled to leave Port Canaveral on Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign of The Seas tomorrow for a four-night Bahamas Cruise.

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Here’s what you need to know if you’re headed to hurricane country.

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If this were a movie, they’d call it The Perfect Storms. Travelers haven’t seen a Labor Day like this since 1935, when a record-breaking Category 5 hurricane churned through the Florida Keys, killing 400 people and destroying most of the Overseas Railroad.

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Think Hurricane Gustav won’t affect your travel plans? Think again. If you are planning to fly early next week, it probably won’t be business as usual. Here are five things you need to know now.

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Currently, only ticketed Passengers will be allowed to enter the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Any Passengers coming to the airport for a flight should have proof of a reservation. This can be a paper ticket, boarding pass, or printed itinerary. Also, please expect to encounter checkpoints as you approach the airport terminal.

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As Hurricane Gustav moves toward Louisiana’s coast, expect massive disruptions at Gulf Coast-area airports. But if you’re an air traveler, you don’t have to be left in the dark.

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If you’re traveling to the Gulf Coast of Texas or Louisiana this weekend, you might want to change your plans. Hurricane Gustav, which is already a Category 4 storm, is headed your way. This one’s serious.

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