Southwest agrees to pay $15 million over collusion claims


DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines will pay $15 million to settle class-action lawsuits that accuse the four biggest U.S. carriers of conspiring to boost prices by holding down the supply of tickets for sale.

Southwest denies breaking the law but says it settled to avoid the expense of more litigation. It will also provide information to the plaintiffs.

American, United and Delta said today they did nothing wrong and will continue to defend themselves.

Lawyers for consumers filed dozens of lawsuits against the four airlines in mid-2015 after The Associated Press first reported the Justice Department was investigating possible collusion.

Federal officials demanded documents from the airlines – which control more than 80 percent of the U.S. air-travel market – to see if they were colluding to limit the number of seats in order to keep prices high.

The Justice Department hasn't taken any formal action against the carriers. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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