“You need to leave right now–not tonight, not in an hour, now,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott in a Saturday morning press conference.
Governor Scott has asked residents to evacuate with Hurricane Irma quickly approaching the Florida coast as early as Friday, September 8.
By last Wednesday, prices for flights out of places like Miami had skyrocketed up to $3,000 per person for a domestic flight that would usually cost next to nothing during this time of year–the slowest time for air travel.
That is a 600% percent price increase.
Many travelers took to social media to explain their outrage in the price increase and the struggle to find any available flights at all.
Twitter user @joerileyhudson wrote, “Totally unacceptable, a #358 flight from Miami to NYC went up to $3578. Why should we expect anything decent from these airlines???”
Still, there were others, like twitter user @Lissette24twiny, who were simply searching for tickets that cost less than $1,000 to get her family out of Miami, writing, “Searching for flight tickets for my sister, grandma and cousin and they are over 1K from Miami-New York!”.
Even celebrities, like Chelsea Handler, got involved in the situation tweeting, “Boycott DELTA AIRLINES. These are peoples lives.”
The tweets flooded in as fast as Irma was approaching. Delta Airlines in particular getting the heat for the steep prices.
Even New York lawmakers are taking an interest in the price increases. Rep. Nydia Velázquez is introducing an act that would cap price increases for flights from areas under emergency at 30 percent, called the AirFAIR Act.
Attorney General Pam Bondi has set up a price gauging hot line for consumers to post complaints if they believe they are victims of unlawful price hikes.
However, according to statements from the airlines published in Miami Herald, the airlines insist they are no price gauging because the seats on these flights are sold out, and that these high prices are just for the few remaining seats on the flights.
Some airlines, such as Delta, created a waiver program where customers can find the best fares for flights to combat this idea of price gauging.