As Hurricane Irma flattens nearly every structure on some of the islands on the Eastern Caribbean, Maritimers are cutting their vacations short and making their way back north to avoid further devastation.

Airlines have been ramping up services, with more planes and larger aircraft to try and get tourists out of the storm zone.

Chelsea Baranowski and her roommate escaped from the south on an emergency flight home.

"It’s such a beautiful place and we didn’t want to leave, but I do understand it was a risk to our lives to be there," says Baranowski.

Desiree Bolger just got back from a trip in Dominican Republic. She says her trip was cut short three days because of the storm.

“We're grateful to be home,” says Desiree Bolger. “Sad that our trip was cut short because of Irma, but thankfully we’re safe and out of it.”

Gary Howard, the vice-president of CAA marketing and communications, says travel agents and airlines have been busy fielding questions about how and when to get out.

“Really right now, it's about getting people home from these destinations,” says Howard.

Both Baranowski and Bolger worry about the people left behind. Locals and stranded travellers alike are now hunkered down in the shelters where they too would have weathered out the storm if their flight hadn't taken off.

Airlines are waving fees for any passengers wanting to change travel plans because of the storm.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.