SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Hotels surrounding San Francisco International Airport reportedly raised rates significantly in the hours following Saturday’s deadly plane crash.
With dozens of flights delayed or canceled in the days following the crash of Asiana Flight 214, including 17 new flight cancellations Monday morning, online listings suggested that hotels in the were booking quickly and charging a premium.
According to Millbrae Patch, some hotels were offering rooms Saturday at more than twice the rate they were being offered a week later.
Among the largest jumps, according to an online search of Hotels.com were a $400 rate at the Best Western Plus El Rancho, which was offered at $180 the following week. The Travelodge San Francisco Airport-North was renting rooms for $329 vs. $89 and The Budget Motel had rooms available on Saturday for $200 vs. $89 a week later.
A search Monday morning revealed much smaller or no difference in average rate. With many hotels offering rooms at roughly $50 more than the rate for next Monday.
Anne Le Clair, head of the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau said it’s a scheduling coincidence.
“This week of the year is about the very busiest for all of our hotels during SEMICON West  in San Francisco,” Le Clair explained mentioning the microelectronics conference. “When SEMICON West is in town, San Francisco’s hotels book solidly, our hotels sell out. It goes all the way into Santa Clara County and they’re all booked.”
She said the airlines and the NTSB were offered special unadvertised discounts to help out in the wake of the crash.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said price gouging would be hard to prove because only under certain circumstances would there be a violation and that’s if there’s a declared state of emergency.
“It is listed for an earthquake, flood, fire, riot, storm or other natural disaster, and that’s in quotes; natural disaster,” Wagstaffe added that nothing about the hotel pricing is illegal upon initial review of the laws.
As an alternative for stranded travelers, a handful of San Francisco hotels are offering discounted rates to those affected by Saturday’s crash.
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