While Floridians look to find a way out to escape the destructive path of Hurricane Irma, Airlines are cashing in by jacking up their prices before people flee.
According to a new report from Perez Hilton, multiple airlines have been accused of upping their ticket prices by hundreds, even thousands of dollars and people are downright outraged. Governor Rick Scott has ordered mandatory evacuations in Florida and has also issued a state of emergency, causing millions of travelers to scramble to get away.
But as people look to find a way out via train, plane, or automobile, they claim that airlines are trying to make a buck off of disaster. One Twitter user slammed Delta airlines and shared a screenshot of the ticket price from Miami to Phoenix changing in one day from $547 to over $3,200 just for a one-way economy class ticket.
Another social media user took to Instagram to lash out at American Airlines by sharing a screen shot of economy tickets from Miami to New York’s LaGuardia Airport. While the average ticket price was $497 on September 3, prices sky rocketed to an average price of $6,244 on Labor Day.
One more Instagram user wrote a long note lashing out at American Airlines for taking advantage of “ignorance and capitalizing off of what could be a devastating situation.”
So there have been occasions when I have been forced to pay a little bit extra due to poor planning on my part or last minute changes. BUT where the hell does the buck stop?! 1700 for an economy ticket to NYC from miami?!!! That’s straight up highway robbery. We’ve been so distracted by the news cycle these past few weeks and fixated on the governments attempts to disenfranchise or straight up deport hundreds of housands of POC basically for “stealing” from us red blooded Americans. And before you come at me for drawing parallels between two very different issues; my point is that we are being distracted from real issues that affect us in our daily lives with ones that will literally not directly impact you in any meaningful way as to cause harm. Meanwhile you got folks like @americanair over here taking advantage of the ignorance and capitalizing off of what could be a devastating situation for the state I live in. Last week I read numerous articles bemoaning the price gouging at Houston area Best Buy’s and hotels and gas stations. But when it comes to the airports nobody says a thing; it’s just an accepted practice at this point, but ask yourself why? Why during times of emergency do basic services such as travel suddenly experience 50% spikes and higher? And better yet ask yourself why doesn’t the government step in and cap these things? I mean does jet fuel cost that much more than it did last Thursday? Did New York City suddenly move 1000 miles further from Miami? No all that changed was demand, and I’m all for a free market but not when it puts out of reach of thousands the ability to reasonably and fairly evacuate. Maybe it’s something that FEMA could step in and help regulate if its funding wasn’t about to be slashed by nearly a billion dollars.????????????
A post shared by William Gaskins (@thereal_billyg) on
His post has already gained an impressive 523 likes and 62 comments. Most people agreed with the post and lashed out at the Airline. Some people even compared the cost of that flight to an international one.
“That’s the amount it costs me to fly from Canada to West Africa… way too much.”
Yahoo! Finance tells the story of John Lyons, a man who paid $160 for an American Airlines ticket to fly his daughter home to Connecticut from the University of Miami. The next day, he went online to try and buy a ticket for his daughter’s roommate, a close family friend, and was shocked to see prices reach over $1,000.
“American Airlines had the audacity to raise the rate $800. I’m sorry. I posted it. 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,” he said.
American Airlines responded to the allegations by saying that they have not changed their fare structures and they are actually helping people who are in affected areas by adding capacity.
“We have added several extra flights – from St. Maarten (SXM), St. Kitts (SKB), Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (PLS); and San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) – in addition to upgrading aircraft when possible. In addition, we have 33 airports included in our waiver program so customers will not be charged change fees or difference in fare with tickets for passengers who already held tickets,” a spokesperson for the airline said.
USA Today also reported that airlines like American, JetBlue, Spirit, and Southwest expanded their change-fee waivers to include airports in Florida. This means that customers are allowed to make a change to their flight without having to pay a fee.
Do you think airlines are dropping the ball on this or do you think they’re doing their best to accommodate passengers?
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]