Airline passengers face extremely high ticket prices due to flight cancellations


As the wave of cancellations this week, led by Southwest Airlines, drags on, other major carriers have announced they will impose price caps, especially in cities where Southwest operates, to ease the financial burden for passengers trying to get to their destinations.

These include American, United and Delta, all of which have said they will cap rates in all markets where Southwest operates through Monday.

But despite the announcements, airfare data shows prices to many of the affected destinations remain sky-high.

Google Flight Information shows prices for one-way travel from airports like Nashville International, Ronald Reagan Washington International, and Chicago Midway International – all southwest hubs – will skyrocket over the next few days.

For example, a one-way ticket departing Thursday from Nashville, Tennessee to Denver International Airport – two hubs hit hard by this week’s flight cancellations – starts at $899.

A one-way flight from Washington DC to Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday starts at $1,527.

Image: Massive Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continue to scare travelers across the country
Travelers line up before passing through a security checkpoint Wednesday at Denver International Airport. Michael Chaglo/Getty Images

Many pilots expressed their disappointment on social media.

Suzanne Durham, a music industry professional from Nashville, spent Christmas in Boston and was due back home on Monday at Southwest. After her original flight was cancelled, she was able to rebook another Southwest flight later this week, but she had a hunch that the flight would also be cancelled.

She decided to book an additional American Airlines flight for more than $900, she said.

“When I booked this flight, I couldn’t believe how expensive it was,” Durham said in a subsequent interview. She said that the American did not specify what class the ticket was in, and it turned out to be business class.

“It wasn’t even first class,” Durham said. “They absolutely gouge the prices, in my opinion.”

Durham, who expressed her disappointment on Twitter Monday, said an American Airlines spokesperson responded by noting that “fares to some destinations are higher.”

An American Airlines spokesperson pointed out to NBC News a tweet buried in response to a user posting that some cities would have price caps in place. The representative declined to provide details.

A Department of Transportation spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an interview with Nexstar Media on TuesdayTransport Minister Pete Buttigieg welcomed the airlines’ price caps.

“No one should take advantage of the situation,” said Buttigieg, who acknowledged that the department may have limited legal authority to substantively resolve the situation.

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