7 things to know about Hurricane Irma and air travel

Hurricane Irma will hit the Southern Florida coast this weekend, causing vacationers and local residents to scramble to get out of the state before the storm hits.

Prices for some flights out of South Florida started to sky rocket earlier this week, tickets going for as high as $3,000 or more per person for domestic flights. But American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are offering some slightly cheaper fairs.

1. FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS On Friday, there were 1,579 flight delays and 1,140 cancellations throughout the U.S. Miami International Airport had 259 cancelled flights and 35 delayed flights on Friday. Fort Lauderdale International Airport had 112 cancelled flights and 63 delayed flights.

2. JETBLUE OFFERS DEALS JetBlue sold out of flights leaving Florida through next Wednesday, according to a spokesman. The airline capped fares on those flights at $99 to $159 each way. "We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights," said JetBlue spokesman Philip Stewart in a statement.

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3. AMERICAN FOLLOWS American Airlines also decided to issue a cap on Wednesday night, announcing all cap pre-tax fares would cost about $99 for main cabin seats on direct flights out of Florida until Sept. 13.

4. DELTA ADDS MORE SEATS Delta upsized aircraft and added flights to airports in Punta Cana, Nassau, Freeport, Key West, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, Orlando and more, according to a company statement.

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“More than 5,000 seats have been added to airports along Irma’s path to help customers evacuate the area. Delta has canceled 350 flights from Friday evening through Monday in the region as airports close along the path of the storm. Additional cancellations are expected for airports along the Gulf Coast,” Delta said.

5. AIRPORTS CLOSE Key West, Fla., is expected to fare better than previously expected but the airport will close at 8 p.m. Friday, Delta said in a statement. Orlando, Sanford and Melbourne airports will end commercial passenger flights on Saturday evening.

6. LOCAL AIRPORT IMPACT The Dayton International Airport only has one airline that flies non-stop to Florida markets — Allegiant Air. Allegiant's flight scheduled to Tampa-St. Petersberg for Friday has been cancelled. "I have not noticed any abnormal increase in passenger traffic in the airport," an airport spokeswoman said.

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7. ADVICE FOR TRAVELERS: If travelers are stuck in Florida somewhere, they should book a flight anywhere close to their destination, said local aviation expert Jay Ratliff. It's better to get out of the impacted area, than be stuck in an airport during Hurricane Irma.


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