Some Floridians escape to Chicago before Irma hits

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CHICAGO -- Chicago is a destination for some Floridians escaping Hurricane Irma -- they were able to grab a plane ticket before flights filled up.

Seats on departing flights are almost completely gone.

"There is some seat here, one seat there. You have to be flexible on your destination," Mike O'Malley with Diplomat Travel. "The non-stops though, going out of any Florida city to Chicago, are completely sold out."

People arriving at O'Hare Airport from Florida described a tense situation at Miami International Airport -- people desperate to get out before the airport closes, huge crowds and overwhelmed security.

Elise Marvin had seen enough.  Deciding it was time to take her South Florida family including dog, Lola, out of harm's way.

"I was able to buy tickets, I guess Tuesday morning, and they were extremely expensive but they weren't crazy expensive yet. So I decided it was time to get out of Dodge," said Marvin.

"My entire family is in Miami," said Miami resident Jessica DiPuglia said. "My best friend is getting married this weekend, so I flew up, and I'm very anxious to leave them all behind. So hopefully cell towers will stay in tact and I'll be able to get in touch with them."

Business traveler Leonardo Betancourt says he got one of the last seats on American Flight #334 from Miami, but his colleagues couldn't get to the gate in time.

"They missed the flight because it was so congested to get through security," he said, explaining that they're now driving to Chicago.

Elise Sharkey, a University of Miami student, said she's never seen anything like it. Emotions running high at Miami International and not enough flights.

"Everyone around me was checking their phones and their flights were reading, 'canceled .. canceled canceled.'  And staff members were saying to them you're not going to get rebooked, the airport is closing on Saturday."

Airports in Florida will close this weekend.

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