According to consumer advocate Chris Elliott, writing in Fortune, the answer is a big yes. He pinpoints the growth of the big three alliances (SkyTeam, OneWorld and Star), and the agreements among alliance members to coordinate services between the U.S. and Europe as costing fliers up to about $200 a ticket.
Elliott says that's the reason that airfares to Europe haven't really declined, nor fuel charges been dropped, while in the opposite direction, fares to Japan and China have lowered significantly.
He points out that while there are 172 carriers offering trans-Atlantic flights, 85% of the business is held by alliance members; on some routes even more. The lack of competition helps the airlines keep the prices up; occasionally they have even reduced capacity for that reason as well.
Elliott point out that the situation could change drastically with real competition, and calls for approval of Norwegian Air Shuttle's certificate. Norwegian is planning low-price high-density flights from London and other hubs; at present it can only fly from its Scandinavian home. The request for approval, normally a matter of a few weeks, has now dragged on for over a year because of airline opposition.
Read his column HERE Photo: Lots of planes, little competition. Wikimedia / Mariordo