Post-Irma: When do high air fares become price gouging? | mjAJC

When evacuees from Florida expressed shock at sky-high air fares for last-minute trips and accused airlines of price gouging, some frequent business travelers reacted with knowing bemusement.
“Overall, last-minute prices were in the same ballpark as a business traveler would pay,” said Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper, an air travel app.

Last-minute air fares can be several times higher than discounted advance-purchase fares that vacationers typically pay. A key difference in the case of Hurricane Irma was that rather than corporate road warriors on an expense account paying the tab for last-minute fares, it was regular people trying to escape the wrath of a monster storm.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it has received consumer complaints from areas affected by Harvey and Irma. “We will evaluate whether they raise any violations of our regulations,” a DOT spokesperson said in a written statement.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and Edward Markey, D-Mass. called for an investigation into reports of airline price gouging targeting evacuees before Hurricane Irma.

Read complete article here:

Post-Irma: When do high air fares become price gouging?.