Hurricane Irma: Florida flight cancellations now near 7000, extend through Monday

Lynette Rowe
September 11, 2017

Jetblue said Monday it cancelled about 900 flights through Friday due to Hurricane Irma as airports come online and the airline moves crews and aircraft back to the state.

Already, 140 flights in Atlanta had been canceled on Saturday and another 188 for Sunday - though many of those cancellations were on flights to or from Florida.

The No. 2 USA airline by passenger traffic, whose business is heavily dependent on operations at the Atlanta airport, said it was planning to resume service to airports in Florida.

The flight grounding in Florida comes just two weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, shutting down operations in Houston's busiest airports.

JetBlue and Southwest said flights will be reduced or canceled until at least Wednesday.

As Hurricane Irma heads towards Florida, leaving devastation in its track across the Caribbean, airports and airlines are preparing for the storm, expected to hit the Florida coast sometime on Sunday. The airline extended cancellations in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic through Friday and scrubbed flights in Cuba and the Bahamas Friday and Saturday.

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American Airlines, which has a significant presence in the area affected by the hurricane, said it was cancelling more than 2,200 flights, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, West Palm Beach and other services affected. American capped prices at $99 in economy and $199 for premium one-way through September 17, a spokesman said.

Steve MacQueen, artistic director of a performing-arts center in Burlington, Vermont, said he was shocked to pay $1,725 to fly his 87-year-old mother from Fort Myers to Charlotte, North Carolina - under two hours - on Thursday.

A public relations consultant said a Delta ticket from Miami to Phoenix on Expedia for her friends' daughter jumped from $547 to more than $3,200. United on Wednesday added extra flights from Florida at a maximum of $399 one-way and quickly sold every seat, the carrier said. The airport remained opened, though only a handful of flights were still operating. The last flight out left the Miami International Airport on Friday evening and was an Air Europa flight destined for Madrid.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Sen.

"I don't think airlines would be dumb enough to consciously gouge passengers in a crisis", he said.

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