Senator warns airlines against price gouging after Amtrak crash

Senator warns airlines against price gouging after Amtrak crash

A Democratic senator is suggesting that airlines might be gouging passengers with high prices for flights in the Northeast after a deadly Amtrak crash near Philadelphia this week. 

Reports of high fares “raise questions about whether airlines are increasing prices to unjustifiable levels after this week’s devastating train derailment in Philadelphia,” Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks MORE (Conn.) said Friday. 

Murphy cited a New York Times report that airlines were charging $2,309 for a flight from New York City to Washington, D.C., this week after Amtrak service was suspended because of the crash. 

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“If this drastic and sudden increase in ticket prices is an effort to make money from desperate travelers impacted by this tragedy, it’s simply unacceptable,” Murphy said in a statement.

“The airlines should know that they’re under the microscope as those in the Northeast struggle to cope with the fallout of the crash," he added. "I will follow up with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to ensure that airlines are not gouging travelers whose trains were cancelled.”

Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York on Tuesday night when it derailed in Philadelphia, reportedly going well over safe speeding limits.

The train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members at the time of the accident, according to Amtrak officials. Eight people were killed and more than 100 injured in the crash.

Amtrak was forced to suspend its services between Philadelphia and New York City, leaving travelers scrambling to make alternate plans over the week.

The Amtrak crash has stirred debate in Washington about the amount of federal funding that goes to the rail company. Since its inception in 1971, Amtrak has typically received about $1 billion from the federal government, but a House committee approved a Republican measure on Wednesday that would cut the company’s funding.

The measure contains $1.13 billion for Amtrak, down from the roughly $1.4 billion Congress appropriated for 2015.