After many travelers complained that prices for flights out of Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma were suddenly skyrocketing, several airlines are now capping fares and, in some cases, opening up more seats to meet demand.
Let there be limits
Delta Air Lines
Delta is switching to larger aircraft and adding flights to airports in Punta Cana, Nassau, Freeport, Key West, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, Orlando, and more. The airline also says that more than 2,000 seats have been added to airports along Irma’s path to help customers evacuate the area.
The carrier has also capped one-way fares in all cabins at $399 for flights to and from southern Florida through Sept. 13.
“There’s only so much airline capacity to any destination,” the airline said in a statement. “When bad weather hits, there’s typically a surge of last-minute demand. Normally, these last-minute fares may be expensive. When bad weather may affect a city or region, an airline can make more last-minute, lower-fare seats available to help people who need to travel find and get an affordable fare.”
JetBlue is “offering any remaining seats in select markets” at reduced fares starting at $99 and going up to $159, including taxes, until Sept. 13. However, “due to high interest in this offer, seats are predominantly sold out,” the airline said on Thursday.
American said that although most of its flights out of Florida have sold out, it has put a limit of $99 on the price of one-way ticket for a main cabin seat, also through Sept. 13.
The airline has sold out all seats out of the state through Friday, and has added six new flights, All those flights have been capped at $399, the airline said, reminding travelers that it has also enacted a travel waiver and has expanded the cities and dates of that waiver. More information is available on United.com.
“We are suspending operations in South Florida beginning tomorrow afternoon. This will extend into the weekend,” a United spokesperson told Consumerist.
While price-gouging is illegal in Florida after a declared state of emergency, airlines are regulated by the federal government and thus, are not subject to state laws.
To that end, after many travelers reported fares of more than $1,000 for seats on flights out of Florida, the Department of Transportation said that it has received consumer complaints from areas impacted by Harvey and Irma, and that it will evaluate whether they raise any violations of our regulations.”