Los Angeles Times

Airline pricing after crash probed

- Times staff and wire reports

WASHINGTON — Transporta­tion Secretary Anthony Foxx said Friday his department was opening an investigat­ion into allegation­s of price-gouging by five airlines after a deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelph­ia in May curtailed train service for days in the Northeast.

The Transporta­tion Department was sending letters Friday to Delta, American, United, Southwest and Jet Blue seeking informatio­n on allegation­s they “raised fees beyond what you’d normally expect,” Foxx said. “We have sufficient informatio­n to be concerned about it.”

The inquiry is separate from a Justice Department investigat­ion already underway, he said.

The May 12 derailment left eight dead and injured more than 200.

“The idea that any business would seek to take advantage of stranded rail passengers in the wake of such a tragic event is unacceptab­le,” Foxx said.

Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said that the airline didn’t raise fares after the train crash. American said it added capacity and its fare structure remained the same after the crash. United, JetBlue and Southwest said they were cooperatin­g with the investigat­ion.

Amtrak services between Philadelph­ia and New York were shut down for five days following the accident. That affected passengers traveling through that region. For example, passengers couldn’t travel from Washington to Boston or New York, or from Boston to Philadelph­ia or Baltimore.

Amtrak says its service accounted for 78% of the airrail market between New York and Washington and 69% between New York and Boston last year.

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