Brussels travel: U.S. State Dept. issues travel warning to Europe

By CNN Staff

(CNN) – The United States has issued a warning to its citizens in Europe in the wake of deadly attacks in Brussels.

The U.S. State Department alert came as a shutdown of Brussels Airport, targeted in two of three bomb blasts Tuesday, remained in place, causing disruption across the continent.
U.S. citizens traveling to and throughout Europe were advised that “terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks” in the region, possibly targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation.
Tuesday’s attacks, in which 31 people died, have been claimed by the terror organization known as ISIS.
“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation,” the alert, issued March 22, says.
“Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.”
A spokeswoman has confirmed to CNN that the airport will be closed to passenger traffic through Friday.
All commercial flights into and out of Brussels are canceled while cargo flights and private flights handled by General Aviation were to resume Wednesday evening.
It’s not yet known if the airport will reopen on Saturday, as that will depend on the ongoing investigation into the damage caused to the terminal building.
The airport said it’s working closely with airlines to help passengers find suitable solutions.
Travelers who left luggage at the airport on Tuesday are being advised to contact their airline or their handlers.
There’s also a lost luggage form available on the Brussels Airport website.
Passengers who have cars at the airport parking can’t retrieve their car yet, but Brussels Airport will communicate as soon as possible about any changes.
Cargo flights and private flights handled by General Aviation were due to resume at Brussels Airport on Wednesday evening.
Brussels public transport
Meanwhile, select public transportation services in Brussels resumed Wednesday following Tuesday’s lockdown, while foreign governments have warned their citizens to be vigilant when visiting the country.
The city’s metro service is running limited service according to the system’s website.
The Belgian Crisis Center confirmed to CNN that Metro lines 1 and 5 were partly open for certain stations from 7 a.m. local time.
Some tram and bus services are operating.
European rail provider Eurostar said on its website it will resume regular services on its Brussels route, though passengers wishing to cancel or postpone bookings could do so free of charge.
Paris’s Gare du Nord station — from which Eurostar services leave for London — was evacuated Tuesday afternoon following the discovery of an abandoned suitcase.
The station has reopened and police in Paris confirmed to CNN that the security alert was a false alarm.
Canceled flights
Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, British Airways, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Ryanair, Alitalia, Jet Airways and Easyjet have all canceled or diverted flights.
Aegean is offering free rebookings or full refunds to any passengers who want to cancel their Brussels flights between now and March 31.
Aer Lingus is offering free changes or refunds to customers traveling on affected Brussels flights on March 22 and 23.
Air Malta is waiving re-booking fees for customers with flights to and from Brussels Airport, up to March 24.
Many other airlines are offering similar options to affected travelers.
More updates about European and U.S. flights and policies are available here.
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