Travelers are suing the nation’s four major airlines, claiming they are “conspiring to keep ticket prices high in the face of falling fuel prices,” Skift reported.
The federal lawsuit against Delta Air Lines, United Continental Holdings Inc., American Airlines and Southwest Airlines was filed July 2 in Chicago, while a similar complaint was filed a day earlier in federal court in White Plains, New York, according to the Skift report. The news comes just days after news of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into airlines over concerns of collusion, according to reports.
The federal probe comes after years of airline consolidation. In recent years, several major airlines — Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines; Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways; Continental Airlines and United Airlines; and American Airlines and U.S. Airways — have merged.
“We fervently hope that the U.S. airlines targeted by the Justice Department’s inquiry are cleared of these allegations,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “American consumers are already jaded enough about flying that we’ve been wondering for awhile how many more gut-punches they could absorb before we see a dip in air travel demand—and therefore a dip in the related econometrics for cities and businesses across the country.
“If not for the radical consolidation we have seen in the airline industry in the last few years, we probably would not even be having this conversation,” Dow added. “Now that four carriers control 85 percent of domestic routes, ‘collusion’ is a thought that’s constantly going to be in the back of the minds of federal regulators.”