At least that is argument the CEOs of American Airlines and US Airways are pushing today before a Senate panel regarding the merger of the two airlines. While their “connect the dots/cities” reasoning that small to mid-level markets will be more efficiently served makes sense in theory, as consumer groups have pointed out this is rarely the result in practice. If the merger goes through as expected, it is difficult to see how this lessening of competition is not going to lead to higher prices and fewer options for the majority of air travelers.
The United States would be left with a just a handful of big players in the industry: United, Delta, Southwest & AmeriWays or whatever name they chose. Save for those Southwest Early Bird Specials, there is already very little difference in pricing between the major airlines. Moving forward, this price parity will surely continue, the only difference will be that those similar prices will now all be similarly higher.