It’s no secret that airfare is an expensive means of travel these days. Despite the fact that they often turn to discount travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz for booking trips, consumers are finding that prices have skyrocketed and that even a flight to one of America’s 31 national airports can cost nearly an arm and a leg.
Many consumers attribute it to fuel costs, or our unstable economy. But New York Senator Chuck Schumer is crying foul.
According to Consumerist, on July 19 Schumer called on the Department of Justice to launch an investigation on air carriers, based on the allegation of withholding information from discount travel sites.
Their goal? To make finding flights on these third party sites more difficult. This makes airfare comparison all the more difficult, and results in customers buying flights directly from airline carriers instead.
According to the New York Post, the legislator estimates that the withholding practice could cost travelers as much as $6 billion in the span of only one year.
Lufthanasa and Southwest were the first to withhold information from third-party sites. But soon enough, Frontier and Delta followed suit.
This withholding is causing serious ramifications for passengers and third party sites alike. According to Schumer, the price differences on third-party sites compared to airlines can differ by hundreds of dollars. According to the Travel Technology Association, withholding practices impact about 40 million passengers on an annual basis.
Senator Schumer fears that third-party sites will disappear altogether if action isn’t taken soon.
Yet Senator Schumer’s allegations are not the only ones that have been made this year. In fact, in the past two months, this is the second time a legislator has spoken up.
In June, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal alerted the Department of Justice to a recently announced airline consolidation that aimed to keep airfare prices high.
Within the same months, airline passengers began complaining about recent exorbitant airfare prices. In result, class action lawsuits were filed, on the basis of airlines attempting to fix airline prices through unfair means.
With Schumer’s investigation added to the growing list of complaints, flyers may soon see prices cruising at a level altitude once more.