Hurricane Irma is grounding travelers as far away as London and Doha.
Airlines on four continents canceled flights to and from Florida through Sunday, as the massive hurricane lashed the Florida Keys on Sunday.
The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Irma to a Category 3 hurricane but the storm is swamping Florida with heavy flooding and fierce winds.
Airlines have called off at least 10,700 flights — including 7,400 in Florida alone — because of Irma, according to plane tracker Flight Aware. That number is set to rise as a weakened yet still powerful Irma heads north near Atlanta — a Delta Air Lines hub and the world’s busiest airport.
American Airlines, which operates a hub out of Miami International Airport, has suspended flights to the city and other Florida airports it serves in Irma’s path, and competitors Delta Air Lines, United, JetBlue and Spirit have followed suit. American said its operations in Orlando, Tampa and Fort Meyers until Tuesday.
The hurricane is also disrupting foreign carriers that fly to the region. British Airways canceled its twice-daily flight from London to Miami on Sunday or Monday, while Qatar Airways said it won’t fly its Doha-to-Miami round trip route on Monday.
South Florida is not just a hub for American Airlines, but it receives dozens of flights from carriers that serve Latin America and the Caribbean. Big regional carriers like Chile’s Latam, Colombia-based Avianca and Panamanian carrier Copa have also canceled flights to Florida this weekend.
All of these airlines said they would waive change or cancel fees due to the storm.
Irma’s impact won’t only affect travelers. Packages will also be delayed as FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service suspend pickups and deliveries in hundreds of cities in the South.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts Irma will weaken to a tropical depression during the week, and could strike near Memphis — FedEx’s hub — by midweek.