Hurricane Price Gouging

Q. I read your observation in a recent article in the New York Times about customer complaints regarding possible price gouging in response to recent hurricane activity in Florida.

If your observations are true, that these in prices are just a reflection of computer program adjustments as standard airline practices, and not price gouging, then I and other consumers agree then there is even a bigger problem with how these fares are generated.

Don't you understand that these computers are programmed by humans to maximize profit for the cost of a seat based solely on when it was purchased?

A. A few days ago, I did some random searches on Kayak and Southwest and did not find any evidence of price gouging. For example, I saw Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans on Jetblue nonstop for $55 one-way and a fare to NYC last minute for $190 one-way, and a same day $380 nonstop from Miami to New York.

So I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary and others I talked to in the industry didn’t find atrociously high airfares either, although many flights were sold out.

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