American and US Air are thinking of merging, so naturally it’s time for a scare story about how mergers will lead to higher prices. Not likely.
A few years ago, there were six big airlines, but four of them–Delta & Northwest, United & Continental–merged into two. But Southwest is now one of the big four, Jet Blue is growing fast, and Alaska Airlines is growing and reaching into new markets. Meanwhile, Delta and American both carried about 5 percent fewer passengers in 2011 than they did in 2006.