As Florida residents scramble to evacuate from the destructive path of Hurricane Irma, many airlines have accused of price-gouging. Domestic flights out of the state are going for as much as $3,000, sometimes even more. However, while many major airlines appear to be trying to make a quick buck off of a desperate situation, JetBlue Airways has opted to take the high road. With Irma expected to make landfall somewhere in the Sunshine State this Sunday, JetBlue has capped one-way direct flights out of Florida at just $99.
If your Hurricane Irma escape route requires a connecting flight, JetBlue has capped those prices at just $159 – and whether Irma evacuees are flying direct or connecting, their JetBlue price includes government taxes. The discounted airfares run until September 13, and according to JetBlue spokesperson Philip Stewart, the purpose of the discount is to allow those getting out of potential harm’s way to do so without the added worry of exorbitant flight costs.
“We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights.”
In addition to offering super cheap flights as Hurricane Irma looms as one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, JetBlue Airways is also helping Florida residents deal with the pesky (and sometimes costly) issue of cancellation and change fees. Until September 13, those fees will be waived for Florida residents making their way to higher ground.
JetBlue runs flights out a large handful of Florida airports, including Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. As Miami Herald reports, JetBlue airlines is even adding additional flights to its itinerary as Irma churns closer to the U.S. mainland.
Despite the company’s best efforts, however, the cheap JetBlue airlines flights are selling out quickly as Floridians scramble to get themselves and their loved ones out of Irma’s potentially crippling path. Many Florida residents have found themselves facing extreme sticker shock as they struggle to book last-minute flights out of the state. For days, the likely path of Hurricane Irma was unknown, forcing many to wait until the last possible minute before deciding whether or not to evacuate.
“Please note that inventory is running low now as the seats are selling very quickly.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, it is still not known where Irma will make landfall. However, as The Weather Channel reports, the entire state of Florida is now within the monster Category 5 storm’s “cone of uncertainty.” As fears of catastrophic winds and flooding coupled with gridlock grow, it’s not surprising that thousands of Florida residents are now booking flights – and hoping not to get price-gouged in the process.
As JetBlue offers a bit of potential relief to weary Florida residents, the first images of Irma’s path of destruction through the Caribbean are coming out of the tiny island of Barbuda. CNN reports indicate that as many as 90 percent (or more) of the island’s structures were damaged or destroyed by the storm. With the potential hitting Florida as a strong Category 4 or Category 5 storm, state and local governments have been issuing widespread voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders as Hurricane Irma barrels closer, particularly in the southern part of the state.
The Miami-Dade area released an updated evacuation map on Wednesday evening, encouraging all Florida residents in the path of potential devastation to leave, and leave early. With traffic already becoming backed up on major highways and interstates, many in Irma’s path are finding their evacuation efforts further stymied by unexpectedly high plane ticket prices. Fortunately, JetBlue airways has committed itself to doing what it can to make a nightmarish situation better for as many people as possible.
To the folks in Miami Dade, stay safe & make necessary preparations for Irma. Here is a map of all the evacuation zones for your reference. pic.twitter.com/mhEfb6r1A3— Asturi Foods (@asturifoods) September 6, 2017
JetBlue’s efforts to aid Florida residents in the path of Irma haven’t gone unnoticed. Many have taken to social media to express their gratitude or $99/$159 price caps, some of whom claim that the way JetBlue handled itself in the midst of such a crisis won’t go unnoticed or be forgotten after the skies clear.
While everyone is gouging people, way to go @JetBlue— Rick Sweeten Images (@RSweetenImages) September 6, 2017
That's awesome considering Delta raised their $578 to ATL to $3300 once evac was announced. How is that not gouging?— Vote2Repeal (@jarmccoy) September 6, 2017
Thank you very much for your service.????— Kimberly Teece (@kimberly_teece) September 6, 2017
Thanks to JetBlue we were able to get our daughter out of FL for a reasonable fare!— Patrice Sullivan (@sillysully5) September 6, 2017
Those outside of Florida but still in the path of Hurricane Irma haven’t been forgotten by JetBlue. In addition to offering $99 and $159 one-way flights out of the Sunshine State, JetBlue Airways is offering the same deal in more than a dozen other hubs.
Through September 13, passengers leaving Charleston, Camaguey and Holguin, Dominican Republic, Havana, La Romana and Punta Cana, Nassau, Port-au-Prince, Providenciales, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Santa Clara, and Santiago can also take advantage of the Hurricane Irma promotion that is bringing much-needed financial relief to so many Florida residents.
[Featured Image by NextNewMedia/Shutterstock]