Hurricane evacuations are largely spontaneous.
Although weather forecasters issue a five-day forecast track, it’s often imprecise. The three-day track is more reliable, but still not set in stone. Unfortunately, three days does not give much lead time to create and execute a comprehensive hurricane evacuation plan.
After preparing property, Florida residents should implement their evacuation plan. For many, that plan only consists of one question: should I stay or should I go? Well-designed plans also include the next two questions: where will I go and how will I get there?
There are three primary modes of transportation to consider when evacuating in advance of a hurricane or tropical storm:
Evacuation by Automobile
The majority of Florida residents evacuate by car. This option allows for a quick departure, but also has several drawbacks:
- Geography: Florida’s peninsula limits evacuation routes. Residents can only drive so far south, east or west before hitting water. Storms that approach the Southwest coast, like hurricanes Irma, Charley and Wilma, forged a path of destruction across southern, central and northern Florida. That meant residents of Naples, Fort Myers and Sanibel who evacuated to Tampa, Orlando or even Jacksonville were still hit by hurricane-force winds.
- Traffic: Again, geography limits evacuation routes. On the west coast, I-75 is the primary evacuation route. On the east coast, it’s I-95. In the panhandle, it’s I-10. Traffic jams plagued evacuation efforts as residents drive out of a storm’s path.
- Gas shortages: With so many evacuees on the road, gas shortages become commonplace, especially along the interstates. Evacuees can become stranded if gas stations run out of fuel or spend precious time waiting in long lines for gas.
- No vacancies: Hotels along interstates fill up quickly. Without a reservation, exhausted evacuees can end up sleeping in their vehicles if no rooms are available.
- Evacuating with pets can also be a challenge, especially if you plan to go to a hotel, or if they are not welcome at a friend’s or relative’s home.
Evacuation by Commercial Airline
A second evacuation option is booking a flight on a commercial airline. While this options transports Floridians to safer locales, it also has drawbacks:
- Schedules: Most airlines set their flight schedules months in advance, sometimes up to a year ahead of time. Departure times or days do not necessarily coincide when you want to leave town.
- Cancelations: Commercial airlines often cancel or consolidate flights if a good portion of passengers modify their reservations or change travel plans. Airlines typically waive change fees in advance of a storm and are not necessarily inclined to fly a near-empty airplane to Florida.
- Price: Ticket prices traditionally increase as the departure date approaches. Flights booked one to three days in advance often have premium prices.
- Pet policies: Airlines have very restrictive pet policies, limiting travel to smaller dogs and cats, or capping the number of pets per flight. Boarding kennels can reach capacity as a storm approaches, or even close the business.
Evacuation by Private Jet
Since its founding in 2016, Elite Jets has offered on-demand charter air service. Travelers can book reservations a year in advance or make same-day travel plans for a spur-of-the-moment getaway. That includes hurricane evacuations.
Travelers who frequently fly privately often inquire about options as a storm approaches. Yes, Elite Jets offers hurricane evacuation flights. There are a multitude of reasons why affluent travelers choose Elite Jets as their evacuation partner:
- Convenience: Elite Jets has a private terminal at Naples airport, and also flies into smaller commercial airports throughout the state. There is comfort in knowing you will not be stuck in interstate traffic or left searching for gas and hotels. After the storm, flights resume as soon as airport authorities give the all-clear, allowing evacuees to arrive back home within hours.
- Guaranteed: Once a reservation is booked, travelers are guaranteed their flight will not be canceled. Flying into smaller commercial airports also minimizes the potential for delays. Elite Jets’ client services team acts as a concierge to help passengers solidify their travel plans.
- Safety: Traffic congestion before and after a storm can be intense. Meanwhile, aircraft avoid congestion and resume operations immediately after inspectors visit runways and terminals.
- Pets: Many private charters, including Elite Jets, are pet friendly and four-legged family members are welcome on board – even if it’s not raining cats and dogs.
Want to learn more about hurricane evacuation flights on Elite Jets? Please give us a call at 239-900-9000, email Charter@EliteJets.com or complete our Quick Quote Form.
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