CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After Hurricane Irma forced days-long closures at airports across the state of Florida, evacuees are now starting to head home.
As the weather began to clear in the Carolinas Tuesday morning, the dozens of cancellations across the board to and from Florida began to disappear at Charlotte Douglas International, where passengers finally boarded flights to get back to the Sunshine State.
The ability to get back home offered a huge sigh of relief for evacuees in the Queen City.
“I have classes and I have work and stuff,” said college student Alexandra Olson, who will be returning to Gainesville. “We’re like, OK, ‘you know what? We should evacuate,’ so me (sic) and my roommate packed a car and drove up.”
For the past week, the Carolinas have been her home as Irma ripped through Florida over the weekend before turning north into Georgia.
Olson’s flight was among the hundreds canceled by American Airlines ahead of the storm’s arrival in Charlotte Monday. With bags and a ticket in hand, there was no question they were getting back home Tuesday.
“We woke up five hours early to get here,” said Olson, who arrived at the airport nine hours ahead of her flight, doing whatever it takes to return.
“We got a flight to Jacksonville and I’ve been trying to find people to pick me up,” she said.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, 27 flights are scheduled to depart from Charlotte to Florida, including 17 flights to Miami. Airport officials ask anyone with a flight to Florida to check with their airline on the status of those flights due to damage caused by Irma.