With massive evacuations expected for parts of southern Florida as Hurricane Irma approaches, people hoping to flee the Sunshine State ahead of the powerful storm may be finding it’s not only a challenge but expensive.
Gas and hotel rooms proved hard to find and some flights were becoming more costly.
Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights in the coming day to some Caribbean countries, according to FlightAware, and more can be expected.
While airports remain open for now in most areas of Florida, Key West International Airport will end service Wednesday night after the final scheduled flight. Miami International Airport says it will remain open until winds reach 35 mph.
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department warned American citizens to reconsider travel to Cuba, Haiti or the Dominican Republic as the hurricane approaches.
As a mass exodus continues in Florida, airlines are considering adding more flights.
“We’re waiting to see if we add any more domestic flights out of Florida until we are more confident on the path of the storm,” Delta spokesman Michael Thomas told weather.com.
Most major airlines, including American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and United, have issued travel advisories related to Hurricane Irma and are waiving the change fees for travelers to reschedule their flights. However, the advisories do not include Florida or other areas of the continental United States.
In fact, numerous people took to social media to complain that airlines are unfairly hiking up the price of flights out of Florida.
By Wednesday, prices had risen to as much as $3,000 for a domestic flight out of South Florida. Typically, flights are much cheaper this time of year, the Miami Herald noted.
“We have not changed our fare structures, and, in fact, have added capacity to help get customers out of the affected areas,” an American Airlines spokeswoman said Tuesday in a statement to Yahoo Finance.
Jet Blue says it is capping the price of a direct flight out of Florida at $99.
Flights out of Florida are selling out fast and hotels in cities further north like Atlanta are reportedly booked solid with people fleeing Florida.
Meanwhile, lines for gas in Florida were growing Wednesday as residents prepared to either leave the area or were just filling the tank ahead of the storm, while some gas stations were running out of gas, the AP reported.
Gas Buddie reports that dozens of gas stations in Florida are already out of gas, with the highest prices highest in Key Biscayne and North Miami Beach.
Cruises Canceled, Shortened and Rerouted
Hurricane Irma is forcing cruise lines to cancel and reschedule planned cruises as the storm barrels through the Caribbean and draws closer to the United States.
Aubrey Manzo Dunn, public relations director for Cruise Critic told weather.com 10 cruises have been canceled so far. Another seven have been shortened and eight have been rerouted.
Royal Caribbean canceled Empress of the Seas’ Sept. 9 Cuba cruise, Enchantment of the Seas’ and Majesty of the Seas’ Bahamas cruises, all scheduled to depart Sept. 8. Norwegian Cruise Line canceled Norwegian Sky’s Sept. 8 cruise and Norwegian Escape’s Sept. 9 cruise. Carnival has canceled Carnival Liberty’s Sept. 7 cruise and Carnival Victory’s Sept. 8 cruise. Cruise Line canceled a Fantasy sailing and two Dream sailings.
Other Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Disney sailings also have been revised.