A federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco Monday alleges American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines violated antitrust laws in blocking their least expensive fares from being used on many connecting and multi-city trips, the Wall Street Journal reports. The lawsuit also named Airline Tariff Publishing Co., which distributes airfare data and is partly owned by the three airlines.
In recent weeks, Delta reversed a previous policy that allowed reservations computers to combine the lowest price for each one-way leg of a multi-city itinerary and add them up to one price for the entire trip. Under the new rules, those fares could not be combined, and travelers would need to purchase each leg separately to get the lost price. American and United quickly followed suit.
American and United both denied the allegations and vowed to defend themselves. American said that the move “eliminated a loophole in the fare rules that allowed some people to construct connections that combined two nonstop fares,” while United said that it made changes to its prices and fare rules unilaterally. Delta declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.