Tags: Coronavirus | americans | airlines | price | gouging | pandemic | abroad

Americans Stranded Abroad Accuse Airlines of Price-Gouging

an airline is taking off against a cloud-peppered sky
(Ric Tapia/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 April 2020 10:01 PM

Americans struggling to make it back to the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic are accusing airlines of jacking up ticket prices.

The Hill reports the State Department, which typically coordinates such flights in times of emergency, is shifting its policy and telling stranded Americans to book their own flights directly through the airlines.

Even when the U.S. government arranges the flights, citizens are required to repay the cost to the government. An online petition signed by almost 2,000 people is asking the government to waive that requirement.

"It is expected that the repatriation cost could be upward of $2000 or more per person," according to the petition, which says, many Americans "can't even afford to pay during this time of crisis and wonder how our government could even be asking so much money to cover the expenses."

Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., have introduced a bill to require the government to cover repatriation expenses, but no action will be taken on it before Congress recovenes in early May.

"While we remain in constant contact with our private sector partners, ultimately, private airlines set their own prices," a State Department spokesperson told The Hill. "The prices the carriers charge are commercial decisions that factor in the costs associated with operating non-standard flights as well as the risk each airline is assuming in arranging these flights. Travelers are free to decide themselves whether to purchase."

The carriers say their fees sometimes include having to book a flight that has no passengers.

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US
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Americans struggling to make it back to the United States are accusing airlines of jacking up ticket prices.
americans, airlines, price, gouging, pandemic, abroad
253
2020-01-14
Tuesday, 14 April 2020 10:01 PM
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