09/06/2017 17:20 EDT | Updated 09/06/2017 17:37 EDT

JetBlue Is Offering $99 Flights So People Can Escape Hurricane Irma

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JetBlue is offering $99 direct flights from every Florida city where it operates, the airline said on Wednesday, as people hurry to leave before powerful Hurricane Irmahits the state.

A price cap through Sept. 10 is also in place for all of JetBlue’s Florida connecting flights, a maximum fare of $159 up to the last available seat, the company said.

“We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights,” JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw said.

Flights in the eastern Caribbean through Sept. 7 and in the western Caribbean through Sept. 8 are also under a fare ceiling.

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JetBlue is offering discounted flights to those looking to get out of Hurricane Irma's potential path this week.

Florida remained under a state of emergency as Irma, packing winds of up to 185 miles per hour, tracked across the northern Caribbean. It’s expected to hit the continental United States over the weekend.

Airlines have been criticized for raising prices in the wake of deadly episodes such as a 2015 Amtrak derailment, but U.S. officials said last year they found no evidence of wrongdoing in that instance.

Irma’s arrival marks the second time in as many weeks that U.S. airline operations will be disrupted by a powerful storm.

Last week, Category 4 Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas and swallowed up much of Houston with powerful winds and deadly flooding. Airline operations were crippled for several days as airports closed, forcing thousands of flight cancellations.

Reporting by Alana Wise in New York and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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