The rush to get out of Florida is intensifying as Hurricane Irma gets closer, and following allegations of price gouging more airlines have joined JetBlue in announcing they will discount some one-way fares out of the state. While some people have chosen to take the roads out of the danger state, JetBlue is offering cheap flights that cap at $99. The airline has set fares at $99 up to $159. Hotel rooms in northern Florida were reportedly booking up quickly, and some gas stations ran out of fuel.
According to Flightstats, 356 flights had already been canceled on Thursday, following 501 cancellations on Wednesday as the Hurricane barrelled toward Florida.
Until then, extra flights will help a few thousand people beat the hurricane out of town.
And a spokesperson for United Airlines told reporters it added six new flights out of Miami to its hubs. Juan Pablo García Luna, administrator of the Cozumel International Airport, said the arrivals scheduled for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, operated by American Airlines from Miami have been canceled. Many passengers were leaving Tampa on Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Irma which is threatening the Florida peninsula.
U.S. carriers including American Airlines have added seat capacity, as scheduled cancellations take their toll.
Many travelers are headed out on previously scheduled flights. 13, for flights out of select airports in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas.
On top of additional flights, several airlines announced they were waiving fees or setting price caps on flights in and out of areas affected by the storm. American capped prices at $99 in economy and $199 for premium one-way through September 17, a spokesman said. "I was expecting to pay $700, not $1,725". For more ticketing information, visit here. He cautioned that flights were going very fast at these prices.
On any given flight, airlines sell batches of tickets with different restrictions and prices. They tapped Henry Harteveldt, a San Francisco-based industry analyst to explain how demand impacts pricing.
By late Saturday, Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale - home to the 12th, 13th, 21st largest airports in the US, respectively - will be largely dormant as the extreme weather rolls in.
Two Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Richard Blumenthal of CT and Edward Markey of MA, asked for a federal investigation.
George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com, said he checked several routes and did not believe that prices were out of line for last-minute tickets, which nearly always cost more. Such algorithms can open the airlines to accusations of opportunism in a crisis.
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