A mobile app designed to speed travelers’ entry into the U.S. can now be used at Port Everglades — making the Fort Lauderdale seaport the first in the nation to offer the service.
The app, Mobile Passport Control, is available for iPhone and Android devices, and is in use at airports throughout the U.S., including Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport. Cruise passengers at Port Everglades can use it beginning today, the port said in a news release.
• Travelers download the app and complete a profile for themselves. They also can add profiles for family members. That information is encrypted and shared only with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
• Before leaving the cruise ship, the user enters the information they would have written on a customs form into the app by answering a few questions.
• The app generates a barcode, which the user can take to a specific Mobile Passport Control office after leaving the ship. A customs officer will scan the barcode, and the traveler will be able to head on their way.
In addition to the app, Port Everglades also recently finished testing Automated Passport Control kiosks in its cruise terminals. Similar to the way the app works, travelers can use the kiosks to fill out their biographical information and customs declarations before heading to a customs line.
“Through our partnership with Port Everglades, we have worked together to bring new technology and procedures to the cruise ship processing environment,” Jorge Roig, Customs port director at Port Everglades, said in a news release. “The addition of the Mobile Passport App and Automated Passport Control Kiosk to the cruise ship environment will bring added benefits to all those that utilize the program and will assist CBP in the completion of its mission of keeping maritime travel safe.”
The issue first was given Wednesday to suspend tolls on State Road 528, the Beachline, to assist with Brevard County’s mandatory evacuation. That highway saw delays Wednesday and Thursday as thousands of people left their homes and headed inland.
Later Wednesday, Scott expanded his order to included all toll roads in Florida. Tolls continued to be free until Sunday night.
Disney announced Thursday it would close its parks for just the fourth time in the resort’s history. The first three times also were for hurricanes: Sept. 15, 1999, for Floyd; Sept. 4-5, 2004, for Frances; and Sept. 26, 2004, Jeanne.
Here’s a wrapup of which parks are closing:
Disney’s theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will close by 5 p.m. today and will stay closed Friday. Disney also canceled Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for Thursday.
The Grand Celebration cruise ship, which sails out of the Port of Palm Beach, had to receive Coast Guard approval to drop off its load of passengers Wednesday morning after the Coast Guard set the Palm Beach port’s condition to Yankee at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Port of Palm Beach spokeswoman Tara Monks said there were about 500 passengers on board the ship.
“If (the ship) had happened to ask to stay, it would be up to the Coast Guard,” Monks said.
Cruise ships along Florida’s east coast are facing the same dilemma, AAA said, of whether to head out to calm seas or find a different port.
“Cruise line officials have already adjusted itineraries to avoid island-destinations impacted by the hurricane, but these port closures makes returning home very tricky,” AAA director of field travel support Vicky Evans said in a news release.
Cruise lines affected by Matthew include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney, MSC, Norwegian and Princess, AAA said.
Three ships scheduled to return to port Thursday now will return Friday: the Empress of the Seas and Carnival Sensation, out of Port Miami; and the Carnival Victory out of Port Canaveral.
Evans advises travelers to reach out to their cruise lines to see if their trips will be affected by the storm.
As Floridians prepare for possible mandatory evacuation orders for Hurricane Matthew, one question may come to mind: Will you have to pay tolls on Florida’s Turnpike before, during and after the storm?
Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that he has authorized the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend tolls in counties where there are evacuation orders issued.
“Protecting life and moving people to safety remains our top priority and today I directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend tolls as needed to keep traffic flowing,” Scott said in a news release. “If there is an evacuation order in a county, all tolls will be suspended in that county.”
The Florida Department of Transportation is keeping track of traffic counters in South and Central Florida as it prepares for the storm’s effects, Scott’s office said.
Here’s more from the governor’s office on the latest efforts to prepare roads for Hurricane Matthew:
• FDOT construction: All state projects on interstates, limited-access facilities, coastal and evacuation routes have been stopped. Contractors are securing equipment and removing all unnecessary barricades, signs and drums.
• Flooding: FDOT is monitoring flood-prone areas and will work with county emergency operations centers to coordinate any necessary response.
• Intracoastal bridges: In Palm Beach County, they will be locked down by 8 p.m. Wednesday. During lock-down, the bridge is closed, power turned off and the traffic arms may be removed.
UPDATE: American and Allegiant airlines have canceled some flights as Florida braces for Hurricane Matthew.
In addition, a JetBlue spokesperson said the airline will begin rolling out cancellations for Thursday and Friday flights in some Florida cities starting Wednesday night. To see if your flight has been canceled, go to http://www.jetblue.com.
American Airlines has canceled all flights scheduled to arrive at South Florida airports Thursday, the company said Wednesday.
All American flights into Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach International Airport are canceled; in addition, American Airlines will have limited departures from those three airports until noon tomorrow, with departures after noon canceled.
The airline plans to resume reduced operations to the three airports beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, the company said, with flights should be fully operational by noon that day.
In addition to the flights canceled by American, Allegiant has canceled the following flights scheduled to arrive or depart Fort Lauderdale on Thursday:
• To Fort Lauderdale: 1204 from Asheville, N.C.; 1711 from Ogdensburg, N.Y.; 1703 from Lexington, Ky.; 1701 from Plattsburgh, N.Y.; 1721 from Syracuse, N.Y.; 1719 from Columbus/Rickenbacker, Ohio; 1217 from Knoxville, Tenn.
• From Fort Lauderdale: 1205 to Asheville, N.C.; 1710 to Ogdensburg, N.Y.; 1702 to Lexington, Ky.; 1700 to Plattsburgh, N.Y.; 1720 to Syracuse, N.Y.; 1718 to Columbus/Rickbenbacker, Ohio; 1216 to Knoxville, Tenn.
American Airlines and Allegiant — along with many other carriers — has issued travel waivers for its South Florida flights affected by Hurricane Matthew. Click here for more information.
American Airlines also has canceled its flights into and out of Orlando International Airport after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the company said. American flights will be canceled through Friday, with limited service beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, the company said.
At Jacksonville International Airport, American Airlines will have limited operations beginning Friday morning, with all American flights into and out of that airport canceled for the rest of the day and resuming Saturday.
Dozens of other flights into the area were canceled Wednesday.
A travel waiver typically allows passengers to change their flights with little to no penalty. The waiver offered varies depending on the airline. For information regarding a specific flight, contact your airline.
Here’s the list of travel waivers in effect. This list will be updated as more waivers are announced.
Waiver benefits: No change fee for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 4; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 5-7; you can travel Oct. 5-12; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Augusta and Savannah, Ga.; Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh/Durham, Richlands and Wilmington, N.C.; Columbia, Charleston, Florence, Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 4; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 5-9; you can travel Oct. 5-14; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Cienfuegos, Cuba; Holguín, Cuba; Santa Clara, Cuba; Cap-Haïtien, Haiti; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Oct. 1; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 1-6; you can travel Sept. 3o – Oct. 9; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Eleuthera, Exuma, Freeport / Grand Bahama, Marsh Harbour and Nassau.
You are eligible for the waiver if you are traveling on an American Airlines flight purchased before Sept. 30; you’re scheduled to travel Oct. 2-7; you can travel Sept. 30-Oct. 11; and you don’t change your origin or destination.
Waiver benefits: Receive one itinerary change; rules and restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements will be waived. Also, travellers on eligible flights may request a refund.
Where the waiver is in effect: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and St. Augustine.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were originally scheduled to fly Oct. 5-8 and purchased your ticket on or before Oct. 4. Travel on rescheduled flight must be completed by Oct. 29.
Waiver benefits: No change/cancel fees and waived fare differences for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, S.C.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Savannah/Hilton Head, Ga.; and Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 5-9 and booked your flight on or before Oct. 4. You may rebook from now through Oct. 18, before your originally scheduled flight was set to depart.
Where the waiver is in effect: Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Santa Clara, Cuba.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were supposed to fly from Oct. 2-6 and booked your flight on or before Sept. 30. You may rebook from now through Oct. 10, before your originally scheduled flight was set to depart.
Waiver benefits: No additional charge for rebooking for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Charleston, S.C.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 4-8 and rebook in the same class as originally scheduled within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same originating city and destination.
Where the waiver is in effect: Montego Bay and Nassau.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Sept. 30-Oct. 5 for Montego Bay and Oct. 2-7 for Nassau, and rebook in the same class as originally scheduled within 14 days of the original date of travel between the same originating city and destination.
Waiver benefits: No modification charge/fare difference for eligible flights.
Where the waiver is in effect: Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 6-7, and rebook your flight before Oct. 14. After Oct. 14, the modification charge still will be waived, but a fare difference will apply.
Where the waiver is in effect: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
You are eligible for the waiver if you were scheduled to fly Oct. 7-8, and rebook your flight before Oct. 14. After Oct. 14, the modification charge still will be waived, but a fare difference will apply.
The airline has canceled a slew of flights into and out of Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Sanford. Those flights will be rescheduled, and passengers on the affected flights will be contacted via email, Allegiant said. Check here for updates.