Merger Means Higher Airfare For Leisure Travelers

Still, Allegiant services the same number of cities non-stop to Orlando as United, Delta, American and US Airways – combined. But again, these are small cities.

So there will be limited help from the discount carrier quarter. And it won't get any easier to fly to non-hub cities like Orlando and Las Vegas and not just because of fewer airlines; blame it on fewer non-stop flights altogether. A friend of mine was going nuts recently trying to find non-stops from Los Angeles to Cincinnati, which is a pretty good-sized city of nearly 300,000. Oh, there was a non-stop on the dates she selected, alright - one, to be exact - but it was literally twice the price of the connecting flights.

You see the problem. It can be summed up in six words: fewer options, higher fares, nicer aircraft. That's right, we will get newer planes out of the merger - actually, American has already taken delivery of some and more are on the way. Better planes can make a flight so much more pleasant.

There is one more thing people can do - and it's a pretty big thing: as carriers wield the club of increased airline pricing power we can respond with passenger paying power. When airfares get too high, travelers have a way of padlocking their wallets. It's the one passenger decision airlines always pay attention to.

The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.

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