Residents trying to flee Florida before Hurricane Irma’s arrival are getting some good news.
While some airlines are charging unreasonably high fares surging over $3000 for last minute domestic flights according to the Miami Herald, two airlines are making headlines for different reasons.
JetBlue Airways and American Airlines are offering travelers much cheaper fares.
Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 6, JetBlue began capping the price on one-way direct flights out of Florida at $99. If flights are available this deal will last up until Sept. 13. Connecting flights out of Florida were also capped at $159, both of these prices include taxes, the Chicago Tribune reported.
American Airlines also decided to cap their fares. All tickets sold between Sept. 10 and Sept. 13 for direct flights out of Florida will be capped at $99 before tax.
“We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights,” said JetBlue spokesman Philip Stewart in a statement.
JetBlue is also offering $99 one-way flights through Sept. 13 for flights out of Savannah, Charleston, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Romana and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey and Holguin, Cuba; and Nassau, Bahamas.
JetBlue is operating at Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. American is operating at Miami International.
Apart from the cap, JetBlue is also waiving cancellation and change fees, as well as differences in airfare when re-booking and adding flights out of select cities. American Airlines is also doing the same.
“Please note that inventory is running low now as the seats are selling very quickly,” Stewart warned.
Both airlines came under fire earlier this week when prices rose due to the increasing number of passengers buying last minute tickets. This kind of surge in pricing is not uncommon.
John Lyons, 53, bought a one-way ticket for his daughter to fly from Miami to Hartford, Conn. for $159.20 on Monday. When he went back on Tuesday to buy a ticket for his daughter’s friend, the price went up to $1,020.
“I logged in and expected to see $160, and frankly if I had seen $260 I wouldn’t have reacted. And I logged in and saw, $1,020, and I about had a heart attack,” Lyons told Yahoo Finance.
Lyons was so shocked by the price jump that he checked to see if he hadn’t accidentally booked a first class ticket.
“American Airlines had the audacity to raise the rate $800,” Lyons said. “You know, I’m angry. I think it’s horrible what they are doing. I just think it’s horrible. I’ll leave it at that.”
The U.S. National Hurricane Center called Irma a “potentially catastrophic” storm on Wednesday. The hurricane was moving towards the U.S. Virgin Islands with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, making it a Category 5 hurricane. Irma is already the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.