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. But as they scour the web for cheap flights, they've increasingly come upon a disappointing reality: most airlines have been charging well over $1,000 for round-trip flights to other US destinations.
Irma is coming down hard on travel options - and the storm hasn't even made landfall yet.
But Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is warning that's still enough to cause not just risky flooding but drowning - especially since South Florida may well experience the equivalent of Category 1 or 2 hurricane winds when Irma arrives early Sunday. Like the other airlines, it will waive fees and attempt to add capacity by using larger planes and adding flights.
The last scheduled departure Saturday was Delta airlines flight 1255 to Atlanta at 5 p.m. "The best way is to sign up for travel alerts with the airline to know if the flight schedule changes", said Strebing. These fares will apply for flights out of the affected area through September 17, and returning to the affected area from September 10-17.
"Airlines felt shamed into capping the fares, but then the remaining seats were almost immediately gone", Kaplan said.
Lack of American Airlines staff has led the airline to cancel several flights last-minute - after passengers had already checked their baggage.
Twelve of those flights are heading to Dallas/Fort Worth, three are going to NY and one is flying to Philadelphia.
The official said the price caps include government taxes and noted that where possible, the company will add additional flights in select cities if aircraft are available.
The South Florida Business Journal reports American Airlines will stop all of its operations at Miami International over the weekend as Irma approaches.
For the latest updates and operation information, check the airlines' websites.
Carriazo said the airport lines in Florida were extremely long and the wait time to board took hours. An airline employee told us there were about 50 people on the flight to Florida, but there were about 160 people on the flight out of Florida with Irma moving in. FLL is closing the airport Saturday and Sunday.