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.
At Miami International Airport, many outbound flights were canceled, leaving residents scrambling to rebook to anywhere outside the path of the storm.
This has led to widespread fears that the hurricane will bear down on Florida over the weekend.
“We have upgraded some flights to larger aircraft when possible and have added an extra flight from Miami to Dallas-Fort Worth this afternoon”. Cancellations will go into effect starting Friday at the following airports: Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale International Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport. Some have added additional flights, but there’s only so much that can logistically be done within such a short window of time.
The airport is preparing for Hurricane Irma, which is expected to be a powerful hurricane sitting over Central Florida sometime Sunday into Monday.
All three carriers said they planned to mostly wind down south Florida operations by Friday evening.
In Orlando, American plans to continue operations through Saturday at 2 p.m. and cancel all flights for Sunday.
But while airlines offered some cheap flights out of south Florida after complaints, passengers said that did little good if all the flights were fully booked or canceled. (Delta later directly reached out to her and she was able to book a seat at a lower price.) Someone else trying to book on American found their flight jumped nearly $600 within the span of a couple hours.
“Contrary to references in social media, Delta has not raised prices because of Hurricane Irma“, Anthony Black, a spokesman for the airline told the LA Times. If you don’t have a reservation, please do not come, the airport said. “I was expecting to pay $700, not $1,725”.
The woman later tweeted that Delta had reached out to her and resolved the issue – but she wasn’t the only one spotting eye-popping fares. She said it’s likely that the first ticket was economy on both legs but that the higher price included a flight in pricier business class after economy sold out. Some airlines have committed to capping the prices of remaining direct flights.
Price algorithms used by airlines generally bump up ticket costs when last-minute demand increases as supply is limited, unless there’s a manual cap.
Flightradar also revealed that the last flight out of Fort Lauderdale’s airport will leave at 7:45 p.m. ET tonight.
Two Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Richard Blumenthal of CT and Edward Markey of MA, asked for a federal investigation.