The pending merger between two of the principal air carriers servicing the TCI from the US has rates climbing. American Airlines, which has an exclusive service rights for the TCI from its Miami hub, will next week complete its merger with US Airways, which services the islands from Charlotte, North Carolina.
This has caused some concern on the part of residents and visitors that that this new merged airline, which will qualify as the world’s largest, will take advantage of the absence of competition, which has apparently begun to happen. Residents who recently sought to change their flights to hurry home for a unexpected funeral were met with a charge of $450 dollars just to reschedule their trips on a late flight. Seats were available the day they needed to travel but the airline attempted to sell the islanders complete new tickets.
Another islander who needed to travel to the US found he had to pay $834 dollars for a ticket normally costing $450. The airline explained the planes were crowded for the Thanksgiving weekend. However, the passenger, who dug deep in his pocket to pay the high fare, reported that he found the flight half empty.
American has been gradually notching up their fares, plus charging more for extra bags. They have also instituted a $25 dollar surcharge if tickets are changed or purchased at their off-island ticket centers. However, international flight changes cannot be performed online according to the airline’s web site.