Passengers flying the friendly skies did something decidedly unfriendly. They accused four of the nation’s largest airlines–which command 69% of the domestic air market–of price collusion. Their claims were validated somewhat in 2015 when the federal government started poking around about possible collusion. Soon, as is the American way, a class-action suit was filed, combining over 100 individual complaints.
The suit alleged that four major airlines–Delta, United, American, and Southwest–were colluding on prices. That collusion led not only to higher fares and fewer flight choices for passengers, but as gas prices fell and bag-check fees rose, it helped bring record profits to the airline industry.
The airlines all deny the charges. While Southwest Airlines denied any wrongdoing, it did agree to pay $15 million (or roughly half the price of a ticket to Boca during spring break) to settle the suit “to avoid the cost and distraction of further litigation,” according to Reuters.ML