MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - More than 3,500 people have responded to a Facebook page where they can complain about Delta Airlines and the high fares in and out of Memphis. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) is one of the latest to join.
The Memphis Democrat says people are letting their fingers do the talking, but there isn't anything anybody can do to force Delta to lower airfares.
Delta Airlines dominates Memphis air travel. They have most of the flights, so they get most of the passengers and they collect most of the money.
Competition is the answer, says Congressman Steve Cohen. "I've been there, and I've called on Southwest, and I said, 'Southwest we want you in Memphis.' They said, 'Well here's a tie.' Great."
They gave him a tie, which he was wearing.
Cohen says he was told Southwest probably will fly three times a day to Atlanta once it takes over AirTran. They're interested in one other route, Memphis to Des Moines, Iowa.
There are no big changes because Delta Airlines is the big dog in Memphis air travel. They can charge high fares because they can, it's their way or the highway.
Everything is profit driven, Cohen says, "And because this is considered a fortress hub where Delta has such predominant play, it is not something Southwest is planning to get into."
Cohen sits on the House Transportation Committee, but Congress can't set the airfares of a private company. After all, this is America.
In fact, people need to talk to somebody else who can really get things done, Cohen said. "The mayors can do more than a congressman can do, because they control the people on the airport authority."
Apparently somebody forgot to tell Memphis Mayor A C Wharton that he had all this power.
"I tell everybody there ain't nothing I can do about that. There ain't nothing the city council can do about that. The competitive forces are going to have to drive that" Wharton said.
Cohen says this issue is being driven by social media right now, which is great, but it still boils down to the city getting more competition for Delta.
Frontier Airlines tried a few years ago with low fares to the west coast. Delta matched all the fares, had better schedules, and less than a year later, Frontier hit the dusty trail out of town.