Hurricane Irma, currently tied for the second-strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, continues to set its sights on Florida. While Floridians rush to evacuate from the category 5 storm, some major airline are offering discounts to help get people to safety.
While some travelers have taken to the internet to complain about surging flight prices as Irma approaches, other airlines are capping their prices.
JetBlue has discounted the price of nonstop flights out of Florida to $99, including tax, and connecting flights are capped at $159. The airline has also added flights out of cities where they are available.
American Airlines is capping their flights, too.
“While there are limited seats remaining before the storm hits, we will cap our pre-tax fares at $99 for MainCabin seats on direct, single leg flights out of Florida for tickets sold through Sunday Sept. 10 for travel until Sept. 13,” an American Airlines spokeswoman told Yahoo Finance.
Delta also announced it won’t charge more than $399 for tickets on all flights from southern Florida and the Caribbean, including first class seats.
If you happen to have a flight scheduled for the area, all three airlines are also allowing those customers to change their plans without a fee.
CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen says such a large scale evacuation could lead to one of the largest mass evacuations in U.S. history, creating a possible gridlock. The same thing happened with attempted mass evacuations during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Rita in 2005 and was the reason Houston officials decided not to issue voluntary or mandatory evacuations with Hurricane Harvey a few weeks ago.
Flights will surely help offset that issue, but if you’re in the path of the storm, don’t delay evacuating. American Airlines said it will wind down operations Friday afternoon at its Miami hub and in other south Florida cities, with operations set to be canceled throughout the weekend. Other airlines may follow suit as the storm approaches.