IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Airlines Scramble Amid Fare Hikes and Heavy Demand Ahead of Irma

Airlines are scrambling and stumbling in the rush to prepare for Irma.
Miami airport.
An American Airlines plane takes off at the Miami International Airport.Joe Raedle / Getty Images, file

Irma is an unruly passenger.

Some airlines sent empty planes to Florida and the Caribbean to bring passengers home ahead of the hurricane, while others issued change waivers and capped ticket prices.

After spiking demand for domestic flights out of Miami drove prices as high as $3,000 on some websites, the airlines faced a flurry of online criticism and moved to address the issue.

A tweet from an Arizona public relations professional who spotted a soaring ticket price on Expedia racked up tens of thousands of retweets and likes.

The woman later tweeted that Delta had reached out to her and resolved the issue — but she wasn't the only one spotting eye-popping fares.

JetBlue said it was capping ticket prices at $99 and $159, as well as waiving cancellation and fare difference fees for passengers evacuating from affected Florida cities in advance of the hurricane.

"Following updated forecasts tracking Hurricane Irma and announcements from local airport authorities, we currently have canceled 878 flights through Monday," the company told NBC News in an email. "We are working to provide additional flights where we can and communicating directly with impacted customers."

American Airlines said it was adding extra capacity to help customers in affected areas, and waiving change fees and fare differences for passengers who already had tickets. It also said it was capping pre-tax airfare at $99 for flights out of Florida for tickets sold through Sunday for travel through Wednesday.

"We have not changed our pricing structure, and, in fact have added capacity to help get customers out of the affected areas," an American Airlines spokesman, Ross Feinstein, told NBC News in an email.

"We have upgraded some flights to larger aircraft when possible and have added an extra flight from Miami to Dallas-Fort Worth this afternoon," he said. "Unfortunately, we are at capacity at Miami but will continue to look at additional options."

The airline also said it expected to start winding down Florida operations and had begun canceling flights at Miami hubs and airports in Fort Lauderdale.

Delta also announced it was reducing prices on last-minute fares and waiving change fees, as well as providing more flights and using larger planes.

Travel waivers are available for eligible United Airlines passengers traveling through specific airports who need to change their travel because of the storm.

For the latest information, check the airlines' websites.