Airline Raises Fare $580, Senator Casey: “US Airways Is Exorbitant”

Airline Fare Senator – U.S. Senator Bob Casey says a big fare increase planned by U.S. Airways is “exorbitant.” A round-trip ticket is set to rise $580, from $118 to $698, in January, after competitor Southwest Airlines drops the route. Casey sent a letter to the company questioning the planned increase on the Pittsburgh to Philadelphia route.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday that when Southwest Airlines Co. drops its flights between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Jan. 8, the price for a US Airways round-trip ticket will jump from $118 plus tax, to $698 plus tax.

A Philadelphia Inquirer check of US Airways’ website Wednesday found the $118 fare ($140 with tax) was for passengers who stayed in Pittsburgh multiple nights. The $698 fare ($720 with taxes) was for nonstop flights within the same day: fly out in the morning and back at night.

For travelers who stay one night, the fare dropped to $531 with taxes and fees, and was even lower for passengers who stayed multiple nights, or on a Saturday night. Airfares can fluctuate several times a day, and vary widely depending on the time, day, and how full planes are.

The highest fares for nonstop and same-day travel are aimed at business travelers. Those fares are traditionally higher than for leisure passengers who can stay multiple nights.

“The Philadelphia-to-Pittsburgh route is flown regularly by business travelers,” Casey wrote. “A significant increase in price could potentially hurt Pennsylvania businesses that rely on this route.”

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher said: “We appreciate Sen. Casey taking the time to contact Mr. Parker and we will respond directly to the senator regarding his concerns.”

US Airways said that “pricing decisions are made based on demand and what the market will bear. Fares change all the time,” Lehmacher said.