The two major US airlines serving the TCI -- American Airlines and US Airways -- are moving close to a merger that could form the world’s largest airline. This is causing concern in the US and TCI that, if the merger goes forward, air fares may rise.
In fact, the US Department of Justice along with attorneys general from six US states and the District of Columbia, have filed an anti-trust action
against the airlines, attempting to prevent the merger. Nevertheless, both firms say they will conclude the deal shortly.
American Airlines serves the TCI with several flights per day from its Miami hub. The flights carry passengers who connect from all over the USA and the world at Miami International Airport. On occasion, American has provided direct flights from their Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, hub. US Airways serves the TCI from their Charlotte, South Carolina hub, also connecting to other flights from northern locations.
Both airlines have gone through a chapter 11 bankruptcy and the courts have released the firms from obligations to employees previously agreed in union contract negotiations.
The widespread concern that reduced competition may increase prices has now reached the TCI. Visitors and residents have seen American Airlines prices rise from a low of $350 round trip to Miami three years ago to an average of $550 dollars. Prices are for coach seats and with seven-day advance booking.
With less than the seven-day advance reservation, ticket prices double. Other recent concerns have been the changing of baggage allowances, which in the past included two checked bags (80 lbs each) and one carry-on, now to one checked bag of 50 lbs, plus carry-on.
Also, new limitations of baggage size, down from a combined total dimensions of 110 inches (W+L+H) to recent limitations of 62 inches. Any baggage larger than these limits has a charge of $200 assessed at the airport. The baggage limits have raised concerns especially among TCI residents who shop in the USA and carry their purchased goods home.