Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks closer at JetBlue’s plans for Spirit Air, Skiplagged’s latest lawsuit, and Qantas’s new strategy.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, August 25. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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A new report said JetBlue Airways is planning to raise airfares on routes flown by Spirit Airlines by as much as 40% if the two carriers’ proposed merger is approved, reports Edward Russell, editor of Skift publication Airline Weekly.
JetBlue would increase fares between 24% and 40%, according to a report by legal news service Law360. The report cited documents released as part of a lawsuit brought by travelers looking to block the JetBlue-Spirit deal. The travelers suing JetBlue argued that the proposed merger would reduce competition for consumers. Russell notes their lawsuit is separate from the U.S. Department of Justice’s suit to stop the merger.
JetBlue said in a statement that, without context, the information gave a “completely inaccurate picture of the facts” and that the proposed merger would result in low fares and better service.
Russell adds that while airfares rose substantially last year, the average domestic airfare has dropped below pre-Covid levels.
Next, travelers flying Qantas to the U.S. have historically arrived in Los Angeles to connect to other cities across the country. But the Australian carrier is looking to serve U.S. and Asian cities with a new plane order, reports Russell.
Russell writes the airline has ordered 24 new long-range planes for both the U.S. and Asia that will see it add more nonstop flights to both regions. That means Qantas’ future will see more flying to Chicago and Seattle than Los Angeles. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said on Thursday the new aircraft will enable the carrier to have more direct flights into the U.S.
Finally, American Airlines has filed a federal lawsuit against hidden city flight platform Skiplagged, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Schaal writes that American alleges that Skiplagged sells flights without authorization and misleads flyers with deceptive offers, among other practices. Skiplagged is famous for offering hidden city flights, where passengers seeking a bargain ditch the rest of their journey at a layover. Schaal notes that airlines prohibit hidden city ticketing because of operational hassles and lost revenue.
American is the latest major travel brand to sue Skiplagged, following Orbitz, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Skiplagged founder Aktarer Zaman told Skift he is fighting to protect consumer rights to find favorable airfares.
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