Crist Calls for Investigation into United Airlines Pricing
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist says United Airlines is charging “extremely high rates” to people trying to get out of Hurricane Irma’s way.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to investigate United Airlines’ pricing structure for those evacuating Hurricane Irma.
Unlike other major airlines, which capped fares and expanded capacity, United Airlines is still charging extremely high rates to Floridians trying to get out of harm’s way, Crist said. When he served as Florida’s attorney general, Crist said he routinely cracked down on price gouging, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley in 2004.
Here is the letter Crist wrote Thursday (Sept. 7):
“Dear Secretary Chao,
“I write on behalf of my constituents’ concerns that United Airlines is gouging Floridians trying to evacuate Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever to threaten the state of Florida. According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Irma will bring potentially catastrophic and life-threatening conditions. As a result, local and state governments have taken steps to help Floridians comply with evacuation orders and save their lives, including suspending highway tolls statewide.
“In response to public criticism of outrageous prices, several airlines, including Jet Blue, Delta, American, and Southwest, have capped rates and, in some cases, expanded outbound capacity. I remain concerned that as of this evening, United Airlines’ price remain sky high – advertising pre-storm evacuation tickets for 10 times more than routine flights. While I understand the fundamental economic principle of supply and demand, no company engaged in interstate commerce should exploit an emergency to take advantage of the people. When I served Florida as attorney general, I was proud to pursue price gouging aggressively, before, during, and after hurricanes. My office prosecuted offenders within the full extent of the law.
“While this may be nothing more than an airline pricing algorithm that needs to be updated, my constituents are running out of time. Consistent with federal law and regulations, please give full and fair consideration whether it would be appropriate for the Department of Transportation to investigate this matter. I look forward to your timely response.”
For information about Crist, go to crist.house.gov.
Charlie Crist | Hurricane Irma | Pinellas Irma | Alert St. Pete | Price Gouging | United Airlines | Tampabay News
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