After accounts of price gouging during Hurricane Harvey went viral, airlines came under fire Wednesday for charging 10 times the normal price for flights out of Hurricane Irma’s path.
Then, when one airline was called out for the exorbitant ticket prices, it slashed them.
A Delta Airlines flight from Miami to Phoenix was listed at $3,258 as it became clear the second-strongest hurricane ever could be making a beeline for Florida this weekend — unleashing outrage on social media. But searches for the same flight later in the month came up with quotes that were just 10 percent of the quote for Wednesday.
— Fl Bass Adventures (@FlBassAdventure) September 6, 2017
When Grit Post reached out to Delta for comment on the matter, spokesman Anthony Black said the high quotes were likely because the cheaper fare classes for the flights had already sold out. Black also told Grit Post that the airline wasn’t raising prices for seats in response to the hurricane, and that it followed similar protocol to flights out of Houston during Harvey.
“We have not raised any of fares in respect to the approach of the storm,” Black said in the Grit Post interview. “We’ve actually maintained our fares to not allow them to naturally follow the path that they would from a purchasing pattern.”
But shortly after the Grit Post interview took place, the ticket prices for flights from Miami to Phoenix — as well as other previously high-priced flights from Florida — were cut significantly. In the MIA to PHX case, cabin seats went down in price to $590. Flights from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta dropped from more than $1,300 to as low as $200.
Black did tell Grit Post that the airline was adding larger capacity flights to the region to accommodate for the evacuees.
Delta was not the only airline charging large sums for tickets for fairly short trips out of Florida, but as of this writing, only Delta had responded to Grit Post. An Expedia spokesman told Grit Post that it was “against our values as well as our policies” to increase prices related to the storm.