By Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, The Baltimore Sun
3:09 PM EDT, October 29, 2012
If you were hoping to escape the misery of Sandy's looming impact on the Mid-Atlantic, it's too late. Major air, rail and bus carriers have canceled most trips into Tuesday.
Delta Airlines offered the last scheduled flights out of town Monday morning from Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, where most airlines have canceled service for the rest of today.
BWI officials said late Sunday that it would offer a "very" limited number of flights on Monday. Southwest Airlines suspended service at the airport effective at 10 p.m. Sunday night. The airline, which is the top carrier at BWI, also shut down flights at more than a dozen of airports on the East Coast, including Philadelphia, Newark and Dulles.
"We expect the airlines to cancel the majority of their flights on Monday to and from BWI," said Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for the airport.
Southwest said it had canceled more than 800 flights from Sunday evening through Wednesday, affecting 16 airports. Its affiliate, AirTran Airways, canceled nearly 300 flights.
Meanwhile, Amtrak announced that it would cancel all service along the Northeast Corridor for Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, including Acela Express. In addition, Amtrak said it would suspend nearly all of its service along the Eastern seaboard, including the Auto Train, which departs from Lorton, Va., and the Silver Meteor train that provides service from Miami to New York.
Amtrak said passengers who have paid can receive a refund or voucher for future travel. Southwest is also allowing passengers to rebook flights without fees.
Bus travelers have not fared any better. Megabus canceled service from Baltimore as of 5 p.m. Sunday, including service on Monday and Tuesday. Megabus said Sandy would affect its operations to and from more than 20 cities on the East Coast. Customers booked on canceled trips should receive an email with further information, Megabus said.
Boltbus also canceled all service in the Northeast for Monday and Tuesday and plans to evaluate options for resuming travel on Wednesday. The company said those with reservations will automatically receive refunds to credit cards or Bolt Rewards accounts.
Even cruise passengers could not escape the misery of the oncoming storm. The Carnival Pride, which sails from the Port of Baltimore, canceled its planned Sunday departure for the Caribbean after the cruise line said it was told that it could not sail.
"The US Coast Guard has just made us aware that we will not be able to depart from the Chesapeake Bay. At this time, it is uncertain when this restriction will be lifted. We respect the Coast Guards decision and since we do not know when we will be cleared to sail, we will not be able to operate this cruise."
The Pride typically carries more than 2,000 passengers and the decision to cancel the cruise appears to have been made after at least some of them had already arrived. Carnival said it would pay for parking and provide a $30 dinner voucher and assist passengers in finding a hotel room for tonight. Guests will also receive a full refund as well as a 25 percent discount on a future cruise. "We are sorry for the disappointment this has caused," the cruise line said in a statement. On Sunday, Carnival also canceled a cruise scheduled to depart Norfolk, Va.
Royal Caribbean managed to sail its Enchantment of the Seas ship from Baltimore on Saturday, but it didn't get very far. Passengers expecting a five-day cruise to Bermuda are being treated to a cruise to nowhere. The cruise line said the Enchantment "will be unable to call on Kings Wharf, Bermuda, as originally scheduled. Instead, the ship sailed out to sea in an effort to try to find the calmest seas possible."
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