Administration Investigates 5 Airlines For Price-Gouging After Amtrak Crash

WASHINGTON -- The government has launched a price-gouging investigation into five airlines that allegedly increased airfare after an Amtrak crash in Philadelphia halted rail service in May, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a breakfast Friday.

The Department of Transportation sent letters to five airlines -- Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, American and United -- requesting information on pricing for air travel through the Northeast Corridor, Foxx told reporters.

Foxx said the investigation will “begin the process of uncovering whether in fact airlines drove up prices in direct response” to the May 12 incident. 

“Those airlines have allegedly increased fees beyond what you would ordinarily expect in the northeast corridor at a time when the Amtrak line was shut down,” Foxx said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday. “Our inquiry is focused on whether there were unfair practices involved in setting prices at that time.” 

In the letter sent to the five airlines, the Transportation Department requests documents on pricing during the period of April 29 to May 11 of this year.  

Eight people were killed and more than 200 injured during the May derailment, resulting in a temporary halt in service between Washington and New York.

“The idea that any business would seek to take advantage of stranded rail passengers in the wake of such a tragic event is unacceptable,” Foxx said in a later statement.