Airline Merger Could Mean Higher Prices, Fewer Flights

The February announcement of the American Airlines and US Airways merger shook up the airline industry as it created the world’s largest airline in an $11-billion deal that, according to the Los Angeles Times, would employ more than 100,000 people and serve about 187 million passengers annually. In Ohio, the merger will make the combined airline the second largest carrier at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport behind United.

A huge merger in the business world always raises questions. In this case, the consumer has to wonder how will this affect them. Will it be easier to book a flight? Will prices rise?

American Airlines Boeing 777

Emergency Travel

Having to travel in an emergency when death, illness or another family matter comes up might mean you have to take a flight when there’s little in the checking account. In that case, you could qualify for an alternative to payday loans in Ohio, which will help when financial need strikes at a particularly bad time when family members can’t afford to loan you cash. Some airlines offer reduced bereavement rates as long as the proper documentation is provided. However, the traveler still has to pay a fare, and in some cases it’s more expensive than one fares.

Increased Fares

An airline merger, though, could complicate travel matters in general with all the uncertainty. An article in Time takes a skeptical view of the merger and how it will affect consumers. In addition to increased fares, travel experts expect more problems after the merger. These trouble spots include flight delays, more lost bags and reservation glitches while the airlines try to combine their systems.

Charlie Leocha of the Consumer Travel Alliance also warns that higher fares will result because there is less competition. In a CTA op-ed, Leocha stated that all-in prices (airfares plus extra fees) will rise and services will go down.

Steps to Take

Regardless of what will happen to fares and service, there are steps a consumer can take to minimize problems when facing emergency travel, says Check the price of a regular ticket on an airline’s website and compare it with an airfare quote over the phone. There also might be last-minute web-only fares, so peruse multiple sites. Another suggestion is to use a comparison shopping website such as Here the consumer can look at multiple airlines and booking sources at once. Depending on how much time a traveler has, he or she should check prices at various airports, depending on their proximity. notes a modest drive to a less convenient airport could save a lot of money.

Also, travelers with frequent flyer miles should use them.

In a perfect world, financial worry should not interfere with emergency travel plans. However, since it’s an imperfect world, the traveler can take steps to focus less on money and more on getting to the destination.