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Published on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Big three carriers sued over multi-city fare 'collusion'

The big three legacy airlines colluded to bump up the cost of for multi-city itineraries by hundreds of dollars, according to an antitrust lawsuit filed by a group of passengers and travel agents.
Earlier this month American, Delta, and United all removed their lowest non-refundable fares from such bookings meaning it can cost 'hundreds and even thousands of dollars more for multi-city itineraries than if the same flights were purchased separately," the lawsuit states.
"Each (of the airlines) announced their agreement in substantially identical terms in written notifications given to members of the travel agency industry," the lawsuit added.
Airline Tariff Publishing Co., which distributes airline fare data and is part owned by the airlines, was also named as a defendant.
Travel agents have been threatened with debit memos to repay the difference of the lower one-way tickets and the new higher prices.  
It said the carriers 'have the ability, and have threatened to penalize plaintiffs, including by terminating their ability to book flights and purchase tickets as travel agents, and by imposing substantial penalties on them.'
American Airlines defended its action, saying the policy change 'eliminated a loophole in the fare rules that allowed some people to construct connections that combined two nonstop fares.'

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