Route Monopoly Drives Fares Sky High

Tracy Stewart, December 07, 2010
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I recently had to book a flight between Newark and Boston for business and wanted to take a nonstop. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Continental was charging $423 one-way, with tax, for flights in December. What’s going on here? I’ve never paid that much. I could literally fly to London for less. Is this the result of consolidation? I ended up taking the subway (PATH train) to Manhattan, and then the NYC subway to New York’s JFK airport, where I caught a $56 one-way flight to Boston on JetBlue. I will not be gouged like that.

    A. This is indeed what happens when airlines have a virtual monopoly on a route. Only Continental flies Newark to Boston nonstop. Perhaps when United and Continental finally merge, Continental will have to give up some gates at Newark and another airline will fly that route, which is crying out for some competition. It will be interesting so see what happens to fares on routes formerly served nonstop only by both Continental and United, such as Newark to Chicago, and Denver to Newark.

     
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