The U.S. government is asking Americans who have travel plans to Japan to reconsider for now, while travelers already in the region are scrambling to figure out what to do next.
The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert strongly urging U.S. citizens to avoid tourism and nonessential travel to the country for the next few weeks as it deals with the massive earthquake that struck Friday.
“Tokyo airports are currently closed; other airports in Japan may be closed or have restricted access,” the agency said in a statement. “Public transportation, including trains and subways, are closed in the Tokyo area, and service has been interrupted in other areas. Many roads have been damaged in the Tokyo area and in northern Japan,” it said.
Strong aftershocks are likely for weeks following a strong earthquake such as this one, the U.S. Department of State notes. The travel alert expires on April 1.
If you have plans to travel to the region, many airlines are making it easier for you to postpone your flight.
American Airlines, Delta and United have issued travel waivers for passengers flying to, from or through Japan in the next several days. The waivers will allow travelers to change their plans without a fee.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Al Nippon Airways says its flights to and from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport may be delayed, canceled or diverted. The carrier is asking passengers to check the status of their flight online.
Cathay Pacific reports that it is likely its flights to Japan will be affected for days.