Airlines Boost Prices as Hurricane "Rita" Nears
Residents seeking to flee Houston by air before Hurricane Rita roars into town are finding that only costly last-minute seats are still available.
Continental Airlines on its Web site yesterday was offering coach seats one way from Houston to Dulles International Airport for as much as $1,937. Searches of the travel Web sites SideStep and Orbitz turned up one-way and round-trip flights between Houston and the Washington area on various carriers from $300 to $624.
Airlines set aside only a certain number of cheap seats on each flight, and passengers rushing out of town have already gobbled them up. Many flights are sold out. Any last-minute tickets typically cost hundreds of dollars more than those bought a week or two in advance. One last-minute, round-trip fare on Continental, Houston's dominant carrier, between Houston and Washington was $516. If purchased two weeks ago, tickets for the flight cost $228.
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