Friday flights from Seattle to Puerto Vallarta have been canceled as Hurricane Patricia bears down on Western Mexico.
Passenger reservations on all Alaska Airlines flights to and from Puerto Vallarta have been canceled through Saturday as the area deals with Hurricane Patricia’s devastation.
Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge said the company is “keeping a very close eye on the region” and will get flights back in the air only when conditions are safe.
Seattle residents with connections to the area on the Mexican coast had watched news reports closely as Hurricane Patricia hit land Friday afternoon.
“At this point, we are just waiting by the phone and the TV. I think the hardest part is that we can’t do much from here,” said Rocio Martinez Lopez, who works at El Centro de la Raza in Seattle.
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Martinez Lopez has a cousin whose family lives a couple of blocks from the beach in Puerto Vallarta, and the family has been evacuated to an area farther from the ocean. She spoke to her cousin Friday morning, who said no one was allowed near the beach. But there’s great concern, she said, that many homes in the area — whether or not they are near the beach — may not be able to stand up to hurricane-force winds.
A Puerto Vallarta resort owner reached by phone at midday Friday said, “The streets are closed, everything’s boarded up and we brought in provisions last night. We just have to hope we will survive it.”
Alexander Andriadis, owner of the Riviera del Rio, said he has been told that electricity will be cut off midafternoon. He said the resort’s restaurant is closed, but meals are being prepared for guests.
Andriadis said there are Seattle-area people among the 20 guests at his boutique resort, but they did not want to talk to a reporter.
He said beachfront hotels were evacuated Thursday night, with many people going into local shelters, but his property and another along a river back from the beach were not evacuated.
“Right now people couldn’t leave if they wanted to. Everything is shut down and there are barricades out,” he said.
In an effort to get customers out of Puerto Vallarta before the hurricane, Alaska Airlines sent an empty flight to Mexico on Friday morning. The company contacted customers in the area to see if they wanted to take the flight, which returned full, landing in Los Angeles about 12:30 p.m.
“We got clearance from the airport to get that one in and out before the airport closes,” Knigge said.
Perry Cooper, Sea-Tac spokesman, said Alaska is the only carrier at the airport that flies directly to Mexico.
Friday afternoon, Alaska Airlines said it has extended its flexible-travel policy for customers traveling to and from Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, and Manzanillo from Friday through Monday. Customers may change or refund tickets without incurring a fee. Tickets may be changed to any other destination within Mexico if the travel is in the same cabin and completed on or before Nov. 6.
Alaska will post updates as the situation develops at blog.alaskaair.com/alaska-airlines/news/hurricane-patricia.
Costco Wholesale has a warehouse in Puerto Vallarta. The company didn’t return a request for comment on preparations for the storm. Last year, another Costco store in Cabo San Lucas was damaged by Hurricane Odile — and in the storm’s wake, also by looters.