Are airlines price-gouging people flying out of Florida?
No. It's a combination of a surge in demand and limited seats left. Also, any time of the year, a ticket booked day-of will be triple normal fare prices.
Pat Blassie, President- Altair Travel
Seth Kaplan, Managing Partner- Airline Weekly
Bureau of Transportation Statistics- Department of Transportation
David Smallen, Director of Public Affairs- Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Kathy Grannis Allen, Managing Director, Airline Industry Public Relations, Communications- Airlines for America
Emily Nipps, Senior Manager, Communications- Tampa International Airport
Jet Blue Airlines
With Hurricane Irma looming off the shore of South Florida, people are preemptively booking flights for themselves and loved ones. The price is leaving many of them feeling disgruntled.
One-way flights from Tampa to Reagan National Airport averaged at $938. For Thursday flights were costing as much as $1,260, and for Friday the going rate was around $573, according to Kayak numbers.
During the same time period in 2016, flights cost $324.28, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Viewers are wondering: Are airlines taking advantage of those fleeing Hurricane Irma's path by spiking the price?
Verify researchers went directly to airlines for the truth.
Southwest, Delta, American and Jet Blue all contend there's no gouging going on. They are working in hyper-drive to get Floridians to safety, adding flights and swapping out scheduled planes to upsize to larger aircrafts.
Historically, hefty price tags are typical for travelers booking day-of and next-day flights.
"The fare structure hasn't changed it's just that most of us usually have the luxury of buying in advance and aren't exposed to these kind of prices," said Seth Kaplan, managing partner at Airline Weekly. "Whoever had to get a last-minute to Chicago knows it can cost a whole lot of money."
Travel expert Pat Blassie, President of Altair Travel, echoed Kaplan, saying it's the basic price model for airlines.
Besides booking late, airlines have limited seats available.
Tampa International Airport has no plans on closing at this time, according to Emily Nipps, communications senior manager.
For Tampa residents still looking to flee by air—even those willing to pay upward of $2,000—time is running out.
"It's very hard to book a flight right now," Nipps said. "It's almost impossible."
Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.
© 2018 WUSA-TV