GREENVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – Hurricane Idalia has interrupted air travel throughout the country, including Northeast Wisconsin.

Just ask Vanessa Bean.

She lives in Tampa Bay now but is originally from Northeast Wisconsin. On Tuesday, she was trying to travel back home on Tuesday. The hurricane diverted her flight from Sarasota, Fla. to Atlanta to North Carolina. By the time the flight was able to get back to Atlanta, Bean had missed her connecting flight to Appleton International Airport.

She said she had to stay the night at the Atlanta airport.

“It wasn’t the best time,” said Bean. “It feels nice, I’m very glad to be back.”

Bean finally arrived at Appleton International Airport around 4:00 p.m. Wednesday. She had family members there waiting for her.

“There’s lots of pressure (when you’re preparing for a hurricane) being born and raised here (in Northeast Wisconsin) I’ve never been part of a tropical storm so you get pretty nervous,” said Bean. “Especially knowing there’s a hurricane coming you prepare the best you can everything is good to go.”

While travelers like Bean had trouble with connecting flights, Appleton International Airport officials said they’ve had good luck with their point-to-point direct flights out of the airport.

Appleton International Airport offers several direct flights to destinations in Florida and Georgia. However, these flights don’t happen every day and the airport’s public information officer Jesse Funk said they didn’t have very many flights scheduled for the areas impacted by the hurricane over the last few days.

An official with Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay said they are having a similar experience as Appleton International Airport. They said they haven’t had any issues with their direct flights even the ones to Florida.

Local Five News used a tool called ‘Flight Stats’ which has historical data and departing and arriving flights at airports across the country to confirm what airport officials had said.

Several airports in the Florida area had to close because of the hurricane:

  • Tampa Bay International Airport opened back up to arriving flights on Wednesday afternoon and will open for departing flights on Thursday morning per its Facebook page. The airport had closed at midnight on Tuesday.
  • Tallahassee International Airport reopened on Wednesday afternoon after closing on Tuesday night.
  • The Gainesville Regional Airport reopened on Wednesday afternoon.
  • According to its Facebook page, all flights out of the Savannah/Hilton airport had been canceled for the rest of the day after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Travel experts recommend that travelers get the app of the airline they’re traveling with because it will provide alerts on cancellations and delays.

“The best way to keep track of all of this is a great site called ‘Flight Aware,’ said Rose Gray who is the business relationship director with Fox World Travel. “You can watch what’s going on and what flights have been impacted.”

Gray said if major weather events like Hurricane Idalia impact your travel plans there are things you can do.

“The best thing that you can do is to be your own best advocate, and say we’re not going to make it, we know there’s a 24-hour cancellation what can you do to help us out,” said Gray.

She also said to read and understand the terms and conditions of your plane ticket.