CHICAGO (NewsNation) — With thousands of flights canceled due to deadly winter weather across the country, stranded travelers are giving up the idea of flying to their destinations and looking to drive.
The demand for rental cars nationwide has skyrocketed after numerous airlines canceled thousands of flights in the last 72 hours. Southwest Airlines has canceled the most flights, with more than 2,500 from coast to coast on Wednesday.
With air travel grounded, many stranded travelers are looking for rental cars to return to their destinations, but people have been met with no availability or the rental prices have doubled or tripled.
“The line at the Hertz was wrapped through the building and down the sidewalk because everybody was frantically trying to get somewhere,” said traveler Billy Spencer. “I’m paying $1,800 for one day, so that means rental car companies are gouging.”
Thousands of frustrated travelers are forced to wait days to get to their destinations.
NewsNation reached out to several rental car companies to try to book a car from Chicago to Dallas, but there was nothing available until Dec. 30. Prices were 30 to 50 percent higher than they typically are.
Travel experts blame the high prices on supply and demand. Experts advise travelers to look for rental locations away from the airport, for example, a neighborhood branch where inventory is most likely higher.