If American and U S Air Merge, You Will Pay More

AMERICAN AIRLINES AIRBUS A319

American Airlines’ parent company, AMR, and U. S. Air want to merge.  Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as several state’s attorney generals are opposed to the action.  They claim the $11 billion merger would force the traveling public to pay more, and have fewer choices.

The merger would create the largest airline in the world.  Is bigger better for the consumer?  That’s a definite no.  Without competition consumers pay more for everything; that is the reason for laws forbidding monopolies.

Whether it’s the peanut butter you buy at the grocery store, the cell phone you just purchased, or the new car you’re thinking about, the more choices presented by retailers, the lower the price you will pay.

The number of airlines are diminishing.  Fares and fees are not controlled by the government or any other organization than the airlines themselves.  This is resulting in higher fares, increased fees for baggage, etc., and less flights with less seats available.

Tuesday, Eric Holder and several attorney generals from numerous states filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the proposed merger.

There have been no immediate comments by American or U. S. Air officials.

If the merger were to be allowed, the two companies say that they would be offering 6,700 daily flights, and gross $40 billion annually.  Last year the traveling public spent more than $70 billion on air travel.

Without choices, without competition, airlines are continually increasing the cost of air travel for the general public.  In 2011 American filed for bankruptcy to avoid a strike by the pilots.  The pilots for both airlines agreed that this would create an easier road to a merger.

Tax money from the American public bailed out the airlines after “911.”  They continue to be poorly managed, offer less service, fewer flights, and fewer available seats.

Having worked for an airline in Los Angeles in the late 60’s and 70’s, I can attest to the huge differences between air travel then, and air travel now.

When I began in 1967, there were still government controls.  Maximum airfares on all routes were published in the ‘Official Airline Guide.’  There were rules to prevent price gouging.  For example:  If a passenger was traveling from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, they could not be charged more than the cost of a flight from Los Angeles to New York.  It was called the ‘more distant point rule.’  Today, if a passenger wants to fly to a small airport in between major routes, and has a limited number of flights, the price is often outrageous and unaffordable.

And, although this was before computers, we actually believed in passenger service.  If we knew one of our passengers was going to have difficulty making a connection to another airline, we made every effort to assist them, instead of saying ‘you’d better run.’

However, unlike today, we were very restrictive of carry-on luggage.  Only small items could be stored inside the cabin.  Attempts to carry-on actual luggage were aborted by the flight attendants, who called for a baggage agent to tag the object and place it in the compartment below.  Every passenger’s comfort was considered important.

And most airlines were profitable.

I can guarantee you that if American and U. S. Air are allowed to merge, it will cost you, and create more profit for them.

James Turnage
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