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Irma: Consumer outrage as airlines hike ticket prices 600%

Some airline customers have seen the price of tickets go up by as much as 600% (George Frey/Getty Images)
Some airline customers have seen the price of tickets go up by as much as 600% (George Frey/Getty Images)

Flyers looking to evacuate Florida before the area is hit by incoming Hurricane Irma have been shocked to find that airlines are bumping up prices by as much as 600% to depart from Miami.

A report by Yahoo Finance US revealed the whopping price differences being charged by carriers including Delta and American Airlines, which has been described as “outrageous” and “appalling” by customers.

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One customer, John Lyons, a 53-year-old father from Connecticut, purchased a one-way American Airlines ticket from Miami to Hartford on Monday this week for $159.20 for his daughter to get out of Hurricane Irma’s path as the storm churns through the Caribbean.

On Tuesday, he tracked the airfare prices to buy a ticket on the same flight for his daughter’s roommate, a close family friend, and was shocked at the spike in costs.

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“I logged in and expected to see $160, and frankly if I had seen $260 I wouldn’t have reacted. And I logged in and saw, $1,020, and I about had a heart attack,” Lyons told Yahoo Finance US.

“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.”

An American Airlines spokeswoman said: “We have not changed our fare structures, and, in fact have added capacity to help get customers out of the affected areas. We have added several extra flights 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. Full details on the waiver can be found at www.aa.com/travelalerts.

MORE: Holidaymakers hit as airport exchange rates hit fresh low

Some airlines have been blamed for inflating costs by $1,000 for one-way tickets out of Florida, which has seen consumers take to social media to vent their frustration.

One user, Leigh Dow, posted a screen grab of a flight from Miami International to Sky Harbor International, which had seemingly increased from $547.50 to $3,258.50.

“Shame on you @Delta,” she wrote. “Jacking from $547 to over $3200 for people trying to evacute responsibly?”

However, two hours later, Lyons tweeted again saying “@Delta reached out & helped tremendously. Note to travelers, always call airline directly if something doesn’t look right.”

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