Summer air fares on the rise after airline mergers
News from Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Travelers booking flights for the summer may come across some of the highest fares seen in recent memory, a by-product of airline mergers that have reduced the number of competitors and shrunk flight schedules out of the Atlanta airport.

Fares in Atlanta have risen faster than in other parts of the country, and prices for airline flights this summer are forecast to be even higher than last summer.

Summer fares for domestic flights from Atlanta are up 1.4 percent this year compared with last year, while fares for trips to Europe are up 6.1 percent, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp. analyzing fares purchased from online travel agencies and other travel agencies.

“If you want to leave on the most popular days and the most convenient flights, you’re probably going to pay the most you have in history,” said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.

The rise in air fares comes after both of Atlanta’s hub carriers went through mergers in recent years. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008, and more recently, Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran Airways and its Atlanta hub in 2011.

Southwest has cut flights in Atlanta that were operated by AirTran, as it downscales AirTran’s operation and prepares to discontinue the AirTran name at the end of the year.

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