Airlines accused of charging Irma evacuees sky-high prices


MIAMI – As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, residents hoping to get out of the way of the storm are running up against sky-high airfares. 

Florida law prohibits extreme price hikes for commodities such as food, water, hotels and lumber in the event of a potentially catastrophic storm like Hurricane Irma. But Florida law doesn’t cover airlines tickets — that’s up to federal regulators. And some people are shocked at what they call price gouging.

Steve MacQueen was surprised  o learn he had to pay $1,725 to fly his 87-year-old mother from Fort Myers to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday. He says he understands “the price is always ghastly” when you buy at the last minute, but not this bad.

He paid anyway to make sure his mother could stay with his sister in North Carolina. He now lives in Vermont, but as a former Floridian, he says the looming storm terrifies him.

Other people posted on Twitter with surprise and outrage.

Other airlines are taking a different approach. JetBlue, based in New York, said it was capping fares out of Florida at $99 and waiving fees for changing or cancelling a flight. American Airlines, which has a major hub in Miami, announced a similar fare cap for evacuees. And Delta lowered some of its highest airfares after customers complained, Yahoo reported.

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