So the airlines are supposedly colluding on price, eh? Who would have thought? I did. But I’m just some guy who flies regularly. I’m not a big shot at the Justice Department. But my Guests and I just did a brief half-hour of research to confirm what we’ve always suspected. It will undoubtedly take the Justice Department five months and $18M to do what I just did.
Kindly observe this tale of two airports: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport & Manchester–Boston Regional Airport.
So I went to Priceline Senόr Bancό de Rόbber Bill Shatner’s website to fly between these two locations. I chose 10-12 November to:
– Eliminate the possibility of last minute flight booking disparities
– Non-holiday week
– Not on a Friday or the weekend
– Random boring normal week
And, hmm, I get $347 with Delta and United, and American / US Air is within 7%. So why are Delta and United charging the exact same price? So I figure, okay, maybe Bill’s got an inside Star Trek deal in place with Delta and United. So I journey directly to the Delta and United websites to get it straight from the airline’s maul.
United gives a figure of $348 or $1 off Shatner.
Delta’s $355 or a whole $7 more than Shatner.
Just to further investigate I strolled over to Southwest and no points for guessing how much they charge for this flight.
So of the four major airlines (all now under Justice Department investigation) three of them charge the exact same price. The other is a whole 7% more expensive. I see. Yeah.
So is all of this just a coincidence? That $348 is just how much it costs to fly from Manchester to Phoenix and none of the airlines can mess with that price?
Put another way, none of these airlines seem interested in providing a price different from the others, so they could, like, make money. You know, compete with the other airlines for your business to make a higher profit than the other airline. Capitalism, competition, etc?
So are the airlines colluding on price? I’ll let you decide. But the answer’s yes.
Speaking of reasons why collusion occurs, it seems presidential candidates have taken it upon themselves to conduct campaign events at breweries. Why?
– Everybody loves beer
– Get to pose with industrial looking equipment
– Meet hard working Americans not yet replaced by some dude in Shenzhen
– Everybody loves beer
Here we see Bush 3 at Four Peaks Brewery in Arizona.
And here we see Clinton 2 at Smuttynose Brewery in New Hampshire.
I like these breweries. Smuttynose’s Robust Porter is first rate.
I’ve only drank Four Peak’s Kilt Lifter when I’m layover at Phoenix Sky because you can’t get it out east yet. Good stuff too.
You can get Kilt Lifter at Zinc Brasserie’s in Terminal 4. By the way, Zinc Brasserie’s is the only place you need to eat at Phoenix Sky. Don’t bother with anywhere else. I literally schedule layovers at Phoenix Sky to eat there. Place is freaking awesome. I’ve never been at Manchester long enough to eat there, so I don’t know what they’ve got.
Anyways, despite my affection for Four Peaks and Smuttynose I’m rather unnerved they’ve decided to sell out like this. Don’t you go ahead and think breweries host campaign events for free. They want payback, eventually. A phone call here, a campaign contribution there. A little access, a chance to remind somebody later when you need a favor. A concept otherwise known as collusion.
If the airlines are colluding against the law they’ve been doing it for at least a decade. And now the Justice Department wants to get involved? Honestly I’m surprised they’re actually doing something. Businesses have gotten so good at rigging the game or selling out that I’m always surprised when the consumer is handed a real victory, like when Comcast recently lost the chance to become the true giant octopus.
But I kind of expect the airlines to break the rules. They’ve been doing it since the dawn of flight. When Sarsaparilla Airways was shoving $2 bills into Woodrow Wilson’s pocket. But beer is supposed to be better than that. Beer is for us, more personal, intimate. You drink it at home, while relaxing with good television or a great book. Beyond crooked awfulness. It irks me to see them in the game this way.
Is beer the next total sell out? I guess we’ll know if Bush 3 or Clinton 2 wins, and then I stroll into my local shopette and see six packs of Robust Porter and Kilt Lifter. And they’re both the exact same price.