Gov. probes 4 airlines suspected of price-gouging after Amtrak crash

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WASHINGTON – A federal probe has been opened into an alleged collusion between four major airlines to raise airfares after the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia in May.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed Friday that letters were sent to all of the airlines involved, requesting information.

The four airlines named in the probe are Delta, Southwest, American and JetBlue.

Delta issued a statement on its website claiming that the company actually lowered prices immediately after the fatal derailment.

According to the airline:

After the May 12 Amtrak crash in Philadelphia, Delta Air Lines took steps to ensure affected travelers could affordably and conveniently reach their destinations. Delta did not increase air fares following the crash – to the contrary, Delta lowered its highest Shuttle prices by nearly 50 percent, to about $300 each way, for travel between New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

In addition, Delta honored existing Amtrak tickets for travel between Washington, D.C., Boston and New York; waived change fees for travel on Delta Shuttle flights between those markets; and increased seat capacity in the region by adding flights and operating larger aircraft.

Delta clarified its position on its response to the Amtrak crash following reports that the Department of Transportation was probing whether airlines raised fares after the incident. Today, the DOT distributed a May 2015 letter from U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., in which he cites a Delta fare from Washington, D.C., to New York that was priced at $2,309.

That fare, however, was a last-minute “walk-up” fare and one of the last seats available on the flight, which was from Dulles International Airport to LaGuardia – typically the most expensive seats available. Most of the seats on that flight were much cheaper but they had all been purchased. That fare, along with other fares for the flight, had been in place prior to the Amtrak crash and none were increased.

Cheaper fares were available on other Delta flights departing around the same time, such as a Delta Shuttle flight from Washington Reagan National to LaGuardia priced at $554.


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