Cranky on the Web – Jacking Up Fares in a Crisis

Did airlines jack up fares after Amtrak wreck? It’s unclearPhiladelphia Inquirer
I was intereviewed for this story, but I can’t say I agree with the headline. Looking at National and Philly to JFK and LaGuardia, the fares were the same. In some cases, fares were higher than the lowest possible, because airplanes were full. But I was seeing plenty of flights selling the lowest (already incredibly high) walkup fare each day.

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5 Comments on "Cranky on the Web – Jacking Up Fares in a Crisis"

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While the statement that they didn’t raise fares could very well be true, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that the number of seats in each fare bucket could have been changed.


I wonder if airlines even had to do that much. I imagine that flights between Boston/NY/Philly/DC have a large fraction of short-notice, inelastic-demand business travel anyhow, and that fare buckets are already structured to take advantage of this fact.

If I were looking for evidence of dastardly deeds, I would look at the fare buckets of connecting flights that used these northeastern shuttles as one of two segments. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that those (possibly cheaper) fares disappeared to make room for displaced Amtrak business customers.

Shock and surprise here. I guess I simply did not know that the 121 carriers could (legally) change fares that quickly. That aside, I agree with CF that the short distance airfares in the NE corridor, where trains and even buses truly do compete, are miserably high. Most of those seats are in the short notice buckets and I’m sure that the carriers make a bundle. Heck, a trans-con flight of ~2300 miles is often less expensive than a 300 mile flight in the NE. This is simply one more reminder to ticket buying flyers that the fare and fees… Read more »

Unfortunately, many of my driving trips include ” screaming, snot-nosed and diseased kids” They are called family vacations.