February 24 2018

Airlines intervene to hold down fares as Irma approaches

February 24 2018, 05:54 | Irvin Gilbert

Airlines intervene to hold down fares as Irma approaches

Irma Cancels Flights At Wilmington Airport

Floridians have spent the past week boarding up their homes in preparation for Hurricane Irma that is expected to make landfall in some parts of Florida starting Saturday with the rest of the state being hit the hardest on Sunday morning. Airlines had earlier taken as many passengers as possible out of the path of the storm.

The threat of Hurricane Irma led the University of Florida, Florida State University and University of South Florida to postpone their scheduled college football games Saturday.

One traveler tweeted, "Totally unacceptable, a $358 flight from Miami to NYC went up to $3,578". On Friday, the service added eight extra flights from Florida to NY due to the increased demand from customers. Another on United's website was presented with a round trip fare between Miami and Denver for $6,785.

Very shortly after the story broke, the airlines started adding more flights and introducing a cap on flight prices. "This is what happens when thousand of people want to leave a place all at once", he told The Verge.

"Gas prices are unlikely to see a similar increase with Irma if the storm does not target the sensitive heart of the Gulf, where much of the South's oil infrastructure stands", he said.

It's this last portion that's impacting people trying to leave Florida the most. The lower fares now apply through September 17, including tickets for passengers returning to the affected airports this weekend.

"Lines at Miami International Airport are 400 - 500 people long". Additionally, according to Kaplan, unfortunate timing is also at play. Miami-bound flights arriving on Friday from Europe and South America were canceled.

What can airlines can do in this type of situation? In addition to Florida and Georgia, numerous various rebooking policies have grown to include some airports in Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Though the state's anti-price gouging statues don't cover airline tickets, a spokeswoman said that they have contacted airlines requesting voluntary compliance.

Some airlines capped their fares amid reports of price-gouging.

"We don't ask anybody for their identification", Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a briefing late Wednesday from the county's emergency operations center in Doral.

In areas already pummelled by the powerful storm, flight operations had been rolled back and halted altogether.

The Hochman family is among those evacuating from Fort Lauderdale.

"It's just the computer programs doing what they do when it's last minute and seats are scarce"., an online fact-finding site, reported that a search for flights out of Miami on a third-party site that lists prices available through travel retailers showed high prices. It was now listed at just above $700.

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