Hurricane Irene Cancels Hundreds of Flights; Train, Ship, College Disruptions

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A spokeswoman said the airline has issued waivers for change and cancel fees for many of its East Coast cities from North Carolina to Maine.

Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority told ABC News Friday morning about 100 out of 400 flights have been canceled for Saturday at RDU and it anticipates further disruptions for flights along the East Coast through Monday, Aug. 29.

While JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Stewart and Teterboro airports are still open, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees those airports, said it is ready for potential disruptions.

The Port Authority said "additional staff and contractor employees will be assisting customers as needed in every area of airport operations," and they will "stock hundreds of cases of bottled water, diapers, cots, blankets and pillows to provide to stranded passengers if necessary. Under terms of the agency's concession contracts, at least one food vendor in every passenger terminal must remain open 24 hours so that food is available at any time of day or night."

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Reagan (DCA) and Dulles (IAD) airports, said it is not planning to close those airports but anticipates "many" flight cancellations as Hurricane Irene approaches, according to its Twitter account.

People coming to Boston Logan International Airport or Worcester Regional Airport should check flight status with their airline while passengers heading to Cruiseport Boston should contact their cruise line for up to date sailing times, said Massachusetts Port Authority.

Hurricane Irene is also closing some colleges or disrupting them along the East Coast. Cape Fear Community College, Mount Olive College and Norfolk State University have announced temporary closures, according to Inside Higher Ed. Columbia University in New York City, Ursinus College and Haverford College in Penn., Rutgers University in N.J. and the University of New Hampshire have announced changes for new student arrivals.

In New York City, which is closing its mass transit including the subway at noon Saturday, the shows will go on. According to the official site for the shows, "all Broadway shows in NYC for the coming weekend are playing as scheduled. For questions about exchange or refund policies, please contact your point of purchase. We will update this page with any additional information we receive."

Cruise lines

Most cruises set sail on weekends, so the ships that had already departed were clear of the storm by the time it made landfall, said Paul Motter, editor of CruiseMates.com. However, all the major cruise lines have altered their schedules to some degree.

The safest location for a ship during a hurricane is at sea, well away from the storm. A ship should never be in port when a storm hits, because the vessel can be dashed against the pier and sustain damage, he said.

The biggest challenge comes when a hurricane makes landfall the same day that the ship is scheduled to be in its U.S. home port, Motter said. Cruise lines will usually opt to keep ships out to sea until "the coast is clear." The passengers get an extra day of "fun," although the seas may be rougher than usual.

Motter said the worst part of a hurricane during a cruise may be the airline reservation chaos passengers face when they disembark a day later than planned.

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