Southwest Departs; US Airways Still Ripping People Off

Southwest US Airways traveler“I miss you, Southwest.” (Photo via ThinkStock)

This past weekend marked a sad day for New England, when Southwest stopped direct flights between Boston and Philadelphia, as well as flights to Philly from Manchester, New Hampshire, and Warwick, Rhode Island. Prior to the cancellation of those routes, you could almost always score $100 round-trip, non-stop Southwest flights between Boston and Philly (provided you booked your flights a couple weeks in advance). It was a boon for tourists and businessmen alike, but Southwest wasn’t making enough money on it, so they withdrew from the market.

So, what’s a Bostonian interested in getting to the City of Brotherly Love have to pay these days? US Airways is the last remaining airline flying directly between the two airports. I hopped on to Kayak for a quick look and HOLY CRAP. Tickets are $530! Really?! But Philly is pretty close! It’s only 320 miles away! I can fly to Dublin for cheaper than $530!

Granted, we at Boston mag might be a little more sensitive to losing Southwest, seeing that our sister publication is in Philly, and we like to go hang out with them and drink Yuengling at happy hour prices. And furthermore, we realize that Southwest was trying to undercut US Airways with their $100 fares. But there’s no way it’s costing them five times as much as Southwest to run profitable trips between the two airports. Know why? Because US Airways is running round-trip nonstop flights from Philly to Phoenix for $336 and to Denver for only $281. Phoenix is 2,000 miles further away from Philadelphia than Boston is, but somehow US Airways can make that flight $200 cheaper. It’s magic!

No, we know why we have a price discrepancy: US Airways now has a monopoly on travelers. And clearly, they have no problem with squeezing every last penny out of us.

Please come back to Boston, Southwest. We miss you. (If you don’t, we’re calling JetBlue or Virgin America.)