DOT Investigating 5 Airlines for ‘Price Gouging’ After Deadly Amtrak Crash in May

By Paul Riegler on 25 July 2015
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Amtrak's Acela Express in Union Station

Amtrak’s Acela Express in Union Station

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced an investigation into possible price gouging by five airlines.  The agency is concerned that five American carriers may have raised airfares in the Northeast following a deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia in May that disrupted rail service in the region.

In a letter sent to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines on Friday, the agency requested fare information to help determine if any of the airlines “engaged in unfair practices (e.g., price gouging) affecting air travel during the period of time that Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was delayed or suspended as a result of the May 12th derailment.”

The agency asked for specific price information for flights between certain Northeast destinations including Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C.; Baltimore-Washington International Airport; Philadelphia International Airport; Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia airports in New York City; Logan International Airport in Boston; Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York; T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island; and Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

On May 13, 2015, an Amtrak train en route from Washington, D.C. to Pennsylvania Station in New York derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people and injuring dozens of others.  It took two days to restore partial service in the Northeast Corridor and full service was not restored until May 19.

“The idea that any business would seek to take advantage of stranded rail passengers in the wake of such a tragic event is unacceptable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This Department takes all allegations of airline price-gouging seriously, and we will pursue a thorough investigation of these consumer complaints.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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