This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Southwest Airlines has agreed to pay $15 million to flyers who claim that the airline and three of its competitors illegally teamed up to keep airfares high. Despite the settlement, Southwest maintains that it’s innocent of the accusations.

Once a Washington, DC, federal judge gave her preliminary OK to the settlement agreement on Jan. 3, Southwest became the first of the four airlines named in the class-action suit to agree to cooperate with the plaintiffs against the others — Delta, American and United. Those three have also denied that they reduced the number of available seats in order to keep the prices of those seats artificially high.

A final approval is expected in a few months.

According to the plaintiffs, the airlines entered into a conspiracy in 2009, using their clout (together, they control about three-quarters of the domestic market) to gouge customers while offering them fewer choices in seats and routes. Airline executives allegedly couched their shared price-fixing strategy in terms like “capacity discipline.”

Southwest said in a statement that it only agreed to settle to “avoid considerable distraction and expense of protracted class-action litigation,” but the terms of the agreement mean that it will help the plaintiffs’ with their case against the remaining airlines, including letting key Southwest employees be interviewed and providing a “full account of facts.”

Spokespeople for American, Delta and United said the Southwest settlement didn’t affect their plans to fight the lawsuit.

Featured image courtesy of Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.