Airlines Intervene to Hold Down Fares as Irma Approaches

It's a fundamental concept of airline economics -- the more full a flight is, the higher the fare gets for the remaining seats. And it's computers that typically make those adjustments.But what happens when those automated systems don't recognize that a monster hurricane is roaring toward Florida and hundreds of thousands of people are looking to flee all at once?Earlier this week, as residents and visitors hurried to evacuate before Hurricane Irma makes landfall this weekend, air fares surged as available seats dwindled. The situation prompted backlash on social media and led a Florida congressman to call for an investigation into what he called "sky high" fares.As the criticism bubbled up, airlines were already in the process of putting restrictions in place that capped nonstop, single-leg fares at prices ranging from $99 at American Airlines and JetBlue up to $399 at Delta Air Lines. They also added dozens of additional flights to help ferry passengers out of the storm's path.  Continue reading...

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