Price gouging is illegal in almost all states during disasters, or a State of Emergency.
For instance, a store can't charge $50 for a 12 pack of bottled water, as some Houston area stores reportedly did last week, leading the state's Attorney General to launch an investigation.
That's considered profiteering off a tragedy.
Airline tickets up, up, and away
However, some Delta and American Airlines passengers are claiming pricing gouging as they try to get out of Florida right now, in advance of Hurricane Irma.
The website Consumerist.com reports a Delta flight from Miami to Phoenix jumped this week from $500 to $3,000.
It found other flights from Florida to safer places for over $1,000, that a few days ago were less than $200.
So is it gouging? The airlines say no.
Airlines defend fare changes
According to Consumerist, Delta and other airlines are saying this is just a case of their computer algorithms automatically adjusting fares based on supply and demand.
This happens on a daily basis, automatically, airlines say.
When a plane has empty seats, prices can drop to $100 for a flight. When a plane is full, as almost every flight out of Ft Lauderdale and Miami is now, the computers adjust prices higher, to $1,000 or more.
Delta says fliers hit with ridiculous fare quotes should call the airline, which may be able to help them find a cheaper way out of Florida.
Meantime,, the Florida Attorney General says anyone who suspects gouging during this official State of Emergency should report it to the AG's office at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
That way you don't waste your money.
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