U.S. airlines scramble to evacuate residents ahead of Hurricane Irma


American added flights with more than 3,600 seats to evacuate residents from Miami and capped one-way fares in coach at $99 and $199 for premium seats ahead of the storm and September 10 through September 17.

Tampa International Airport also is closed as Hurricane Irma moves up the Florida peninsula.

All American flights remain canceled through today at 12 other Florida airports, as well as Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.

Virgin Atlantic plans to operate several more rescue flights from Orlando "as soon as it is safe to do so". On Monday, he got a flight from Miami to Washington, D.C. for Thursday before the frenzy began for $225.

Carnival Cruise Lines, which has major operations in Florida, canceled two of its Bahamas-bound cruises and said it is likely that other schedules will be impacted as the storm's path and impact became more clear.

Further north, at Tampa International officials said early inspections showed minimal damage after the airport sustained winds of up to 52 miles per hour and gusts of 66 miles per hour.

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American Airlines reports that operations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando and West Palm Beach will be canceled throughout the weekend, and that flights originating from Europe and South America that were scheduled to arrive Friday has also been cancelled.

Irma, now a category 5 storm, is set to slam into Puerto Rico on Wednesday evening followed by south Florida on Sunday, and many residents are trying to make their way out of the state.

American Airlines also capped economy airfares at $99 for the same dates. Spirit has closed its Miramar, Fla., headquarters, shifted its operations center to Detroit, and will stop flying from Fort Lauderdale, its biggest airport, late Friday, said Paul Berry, a spokesman. Spokeswoman Victoria Moreland said the airport is ready to take any flights for the recovery effort Monday, but commercial operations remain halted until power is restored to the facility. The last flight will depart FLL at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, September 8. The day will give the airport time to get personnel as numerous facility's 4,000 workers were affected by the storm. The airline extended cancellations in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic through Friday and scrubbed flights in Cuba and the Bahamas Friday and Saturday.

An online search shows flights from South Florida costing more than $1000 people have been posting about their ticket prices on social media.

Danny Mrohs said he had to stand his ground Wednesday when trying to change his flight out of OIA. The scramble comes as carriers are still issuing waivers for flight changes from Hurricane Harvey, which slammed into Texas' Gulf Coast last month as a Category 4 storm. "We have the airline employees as well as the Broward County Aviation Department maintenance division working around the clock, night and day to secure all of the facilities here", said FLL spokesperson Greg Meyer.