A group of 42 consumers has filed a lawsuit to block Alaska
Airlines’ purchase of Virgin America.
The complaint, filed in San Francisco, alleges that the
merger would harm consumers by reducing the number of airlines serving Hawaii
and both U.S. coasts; reducing capacity overall, leading to higher ticket
prices and ancillary fees; and depriving passengers of the lower fares and
“unique flying experience” offered by Virgin America.
The lawsuit also says that the rash of U.S. airline mergers
has been bad for U.S. consumers, stating that “since airline mega-mergers began
in 2008, capacity has been substantially reduced and airfares increased.” The
complaint also alleges that mergers have led to increased ancillary fees.
The consumers also mention Richard Branson’s opposition to
the merger. The Virgin America founder had expressed regret that he did not
have the shareholder votes to reject the offer from Alaska, writing that Virgin
America had started “out of frustration.”
As more airlines consolidated and grew larger and more
focused on the bottom line, flying in the U.S. became an awful experience,” he