If your travels include Manila and the Philippines — as well as Vietnam — over the next several days, be advised that your travel plans may be interrupted by a massive tropical system heading in a west-northwesterly direction from the Pacific Ocean.
Super Typhoon Haiyan — also known as Yolanda — has been called the strongest storm on Earth in 2013, as it is currently a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds exceeding 160 miles per hour. Landfall of this storm is expected to almost certainly impact the central Philippines within the next 18 hours.
While Manila is not directly in the path of this dangerous storm — whose direct impact is projected to remain south of the capital city — it is expected to be affected by the effects caused by the storm, including damage caused by winds of up to 75 miles per hour and the potential of several inches of heavy rain. Super Typhoon Haiyan is expected to graze the northern part of Amanpulo.
Thousands of people — many of whom are Filipinos who were affected by an earthquake last month which killed greater than 150 people — are fleeing from the path of this storm and seeking shelter. Rain totals could reach eight inches in the areas of the Philippines stricken by the aforementioned earthquake. A significant storm surge is expected in coastal areas as well.
After ravaging the Philippines, the storm is expected to track across the South China Sea. Landfall is expected in Vietnam on Monday, November 11, 2013; but be advised that — depending on the track of the storm — Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and southern China could also be affected by Haiyan, which should by then be a strong tropical storm or a weak typhoon.
Airlines have already been canceling flights for Friday. Delta Air Lines, for example, is offering customers the option to re-schedule affected flights scheduled for November 7 and 8 without paying a fee, which has been waived — although there still may be a difference in the cost of the fare of the re-booked flight. By the time you read this, other airlines should have similar waivers on change fees for affected flights already in place.
I have not found other FlyerTalk discussions at this time concerning Super Typhoon Haiyan, but it is a safe bet that if you are traveling on an airline to or from Manila and other destinations in the Philippines as well as Vietnam, you will most likely encounter similar travel disruptions.
The bottom line is if you can delay your travels to or from the Philippines or Vietnam, do so as soon as possible. Check the advisories of your travel providers, including but not limited to airlines, hotels, rental cars and public transportation. Keep yourself updated and informed with the progress of Super Typhoon Haiyan in order for you to decide what measures to take.
Have your travel plans been affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan? If so, how?