An investigation was launched on Friday against five airline companies on whether or not they gouged travelers on ticket prices after the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia. American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines are all involved in the investigation and are being asked about their pricing for people who traveled in the Northeast corridor after May, according to USA Today.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched the investigation and told reporters, “The idea that any business would seek to take advantage of stranded rail passengers in the wake of such a tragic event is unacceptable. This department takes all allegations of airlines price-gouging seriously, and we will pursue a thorough investigation of these consumer complaints.”
Senator Christopher Murphy requested the investigation of the five airlines and asked the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the higher prices in the days after the Amtrak crash. One ticket price was $2,309 from New York to Washington.
In a statement, Murphy wrote, “This evidence, as well as anecdotal evidence from my constituents, raises troubling questions about possible market distortions at play. If this drastic and sudden increase in ticket prices is an effort to make money from desperate travelers impacted by this tragedy, you should fully exercise the enforcement powers vested in your agencies.”
American Airlines spokesman Josh Freed told Reuters that the airline was cooperating with the Transportation Department, and there will be no findings of malpractice by the airline.
“In response to the Amtrak derailment, we added capacity and our fare structure remained the same.”
Foxx indicated that they did have evidence against the five airlines but did not give detail on what they or Murphy have collected thus far. He added that letters are being sent out on Friday to the five airlines and there is no firm schedule on the investigation.
Foxx said, “We expect the answers to returned promptly. We have sufficient evidence to be concerned about it.”
American Airlines, Southwest, and JetBlue have all relayed the same message: they will cooperate with the investigation and have been notified by DOT but their prices were structured and stayed the same amongst the deadly Amtrak crash.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]