Delta Airlines accidentally increases ticket prices 500 percent for Florida evacuees

Delta Airlines accidentally increased ticket prices for Floridians fleeing Hurricane Irma
Delta said a technical error was to blame for the increase in airfares. Photo credit: Getty

US airline Delta is under fire after it increased prices for tickets out of hurricane-threatened Florida by 500 percent.

A state of emergency has been declared and evacuation is underway as category 5 superstorm Hurricane Irma looks set to hit the state this weekend.

While mandatory evacuation has so far only been ordered for the Florida Keys, residents throughout the state are leaving in droves.

Leigh Dow tweeted a screenshot of her Delta Airlines booking showing its price had risen from $US547.50 to $3,258.50 - an increase of 500 percent. She was planning to fly from Miami to Phoenix, Arizona.

Another Twitter user posted a screenshot showing the last remaining seats on two Delta flights to Atlanta, few hundred kilometres away, were priced at $1220 and $1346; while a one-way ticket to Atlanta through United Airlines was priced at $1866.

A Delta representative told the International Business Times the hike in airfares was a technical error that occurred when Dow tried to book her ticket through travel site Expedia.

"We have absolutely not been raising prices," the representative said.

Delta reached out to Dow after her tweet went viral and was able to fix the problem, and Dow was reportedly "satisfied with the fare she got".

The representative assured passengers airfares would be stable, and Delta has added extra flights out of Florida and the south Caribbean for evacuees of Hurricane Irma.

Delta is not the only airline being accused of gouging ticket prices. John Lyons posted this screenshot to Facebook of his American Airlines booking, claiming that his ticket price had been upped from $US160 to over US$1000.

In a statement American Airlines said the company had not changed its fare structures and has added capacity to help with evacuation, reports Yahoo! Finance.

JetBlue announced tickets out of every airport in Florida would be capped at US$99 and it will also waive all cancellation and flight change fees.

American Airlines is following suit.