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Hurricane Irma: Updated travel advice issued for Britons

Tourists in the storm's path have been urged to follow any evacuation orders.

The hurricane has left a path of devastation in its wake.
The hurricane has left a path of devastation in its wake. AP

As Hurricane Irma ravages across the Caribbean, British holidaymakers are facing major disruption to their travel plans.

The category five hurricane is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm in recorded history, bringing with it sustained winds of 185mph.

Thousands of British tourists that are in the region have been urged to follow any evacuation orders if they are on an island in Irma's path.

States of emergency have been declared in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Florida - as experts warn the storm could hit Miami directly.

UK travel firms and airlines operating to affected destinations such as Antigua, St Kitts, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, or Orlando have been offering advice to customers whose flights have been affected.

Flights to popular tourist destinations have been affected by adverse weather conditions
Flights to popular tourist destinations have been affected by adverse weather conditions AP
  • ABTA

The British travel association ABTA has advised anyone on a package holiday in the Caribbean or Florida to keep in close contact with their travel provider, to monitor news reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Those who have travelled independently are also advised to keep up to date with the latest information.

ABTA has also urged anyone due to travel imminently to the region to check with their travel firm or airline to establish if their holiday itinerary or flights are affected.

  • Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook say they are offering free of charge amendments or cancellations for customers travelling to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Miami and Orlando up to and including Sunday 10 September.

Anyone due to travel during this time is urged to call 01733 224 536 to discuss their travel arrangements.

Thomas Cook are offering free changes to certain destinations.
Thomas Cook are offering free changes to certain destinations. PA
  • Thomson and First Choice

Thomson and First Choice cancelled several flights to the Dominican Republic and Cuba on Thursday and they have been rescheduled to Friday.

Anyone due to travel on these flights have been advised they can cancel or amend them free of charge.

Any customers due to travel to Florida, Dominican Republic and Cuba in the coming days are also urged to check the website regularly for updates.

  • British Airways
Some flights to the Caribbean and Florida have been affected.
Some flights to the Caribbean and Florida have been affected. PA

British Airways said it is "doing all we can" to get their customers to their final destinations, and anyone booked to fly with them to Antigua, St Kitts, Punta Cana, Providentiales, or Nassau before 10 September and who wishes to change their travel plans should contact the airline for a range of re-book options available to them.

You can choose to travel to an alternative Caribbean destination or delay the flight to another date before 30 September.

BA is also providing re-book options for customers who have booked to fly with them to/from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, or Orlando between 7-17 September inclusive.

You can choose to fly to the same destination as originally booked, up to and including 14 October.

  • Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays
Virgin Atlantic has said the safety and comfort of its customers is its 'top priority'.
Virgin Atlantic has said the safety and comfort of its customers is its 'top priority'. PA

Any Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holiday customers booked to travel to, from or through Antigua, Havana, Orlando and Miami between the 7th and 12th September can re-book their flights to an alternative date or alternative destination travelling on or before 14th October, subject to availability.

Travellers currently in the above destinations also have the option of returning home early, the airline said. They are advised to contact their travel agent or call Virgin Atlantic directly.

On Thursday, the airline's flight to Antigua from London Gatwick was cancelled. It said a relief flight will operate instead, loaded with essential items to help the recovery effort.

The return flight from Antigua back to London Gatwick will still operate as scheduled.

Travellers are advised to check the status of their flights on the airline's website before they travel to the airport.

What has the Foreign Office said?

The UK Foreign Office has advised Britons in the hurricane's path to monitor its website and follow any advice issued by local officials as the storm progresses through the region.

The Government has made £12 million available immediately to help with the relief effort.

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan has said the UK is doing its "utmost" to bring urgent assistance.

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