Analysts: American-US Airways Merger Could Mean Higher Ticket Prices
TULSA, Oklahoma - The marriage of American and US Airways will offer new opportunities and challenges for travelers.
Consumer groups say the merger will cut back on competition and many fear it will lead to higher ticket prices.
"More fees, higher ticket prices and they take less care of you," said traveler John Paul Strong.
Strong spends plenty of time in airports. He's a business traveler and he's got some pretty strong feelings about what the merger will mean for flyers.
"It's like a monopoly, because now they're just going to keep charging you more and more for a ticket. They just charged us $50 for our bag, even though I'm an American Gold member," Strong said.
Consumer advocates agree. They say the love coming from the marriage between American Airlines and US Airways will only go to the corporations, while travelers get the short end of the stick.
"You're going to be paying more for your airfare tickets, your loyalty miles will be worth more in the short term, and less in the long run," said Rick Seany, CEO of FareCompare.com
"What happens to those people that have those reward miles that saved them up to take that trip, really, what happens then?" said traveler Tami Warn.
For now, both airlines say existing frequent flyers miles will be honored and combined, but if history is any indication, those rewards benefits could be slapped with an expiration date, which happened after the United/Continental merger.
Then, there's the question of the flights themselves. The new American will have hubs in nine U.S. cities. Analysts believe some of those hubs could close in the future, which is a fear for frequent flyer, Linda Uidl.
"This flight was fairly expensive and we flew direct from Chicago, but all the other options we had were two and three stops, which was almost eight hours to get here from Chicago, so it's that kind of stuff that kind of worries us," Uidl said.
The new airline says it will expand service from these hubs, adding flights to current markets and to new cities.