Airline Price Fixing
Millions of Americans fly each year: choosing to travel by plane to visit relatives, go on vacation, or attend a business seminar across the country. Whether the flight is for business or pleasure, countless Americans take to the skies to get from Point A to Point B.
However, despite the unwavering demand for airline tickets, the tycoons of the industry – United, American, Delta and Southwest Airlines – have steadily increased ticket prices over the past few years and offered little in terms of savings to consumers, despite the steep decline in jet fuel prices. Although jet fuel accounts for nearly 50% of the airlines’ operating costs, none of the big four have broken from the pack and offered airfare commensurate with the declined cost of doing business.
In a competitive market this should not be the case. Antimonopoly laws exist to prevent corporations from banding together, fixing prices, and essentially depriving consumers of the freedom to choose amongst a range of competitors in a given industry. By colluding to maintain a certain status quo and avoid modifying ticket fares to match the sharply decreased cost of doing business, the giants of the sky (United, American, Delta and Southwest) have engaged in unlawful practices and deprived you, the consumer, of a meaningful choice in a country structured to ensure you almost always have a meaningful choice.
Since 1978, airlines have been operated by private corporations free from government regulation. Rather than inserting the government to control the day-to-day issues of fare costs and route options, Congress, in 1978, elected to let market fluctuation dictate the growth of the industry. Since that time United, American, Delta and Southwest have been competitors in the marketplace and attempted to grow their businesses by offering desirable fares, routes and seating options, attempting to out-price and thus out earn their competitors.
Over the last decade, that competition has stymied. Thanks to mergers between US Airways and American West, Delta and Northwest, United and Continental, Southwest and AirTran, and American and US Airways, the number of major domestic airlines has dropped from nine to only four. Those four – United, American, Delta and Southwest – account for more than 80% of the domestic airline market.
Since this litany of mergers, the big four airlines have admittedly maintained “capacity discipline,” limiting the number of available seats to keep prices high, and ignored the dropping cost of fuel. A number of Senators and ultimately the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) have taken notice of defendant’s apparently collusive and monopolistic behavior. Amidst calls for transparency and an explanation for why prices have steadily increased as business costs have declined, the DOJ has initiated an investigation into the activities of United, American, Delta and Southwest.
If you or a loved one has flown domestically on one of the aforementioned airlines between January 2014 and January 2015 you may have been the victim of anti-competitive, monopolistic price fixing. Speak with an experienced attorney at the Clark Law NJ, today. You may be entitled to a significant monetary award as a Class Action Lawsuit representative. You don’t deserve to be victimized in what should be a free and competitive marketplace.
Contact an attorney at the Clark Law Firm, today for a free consultation.