Tue., February 2, 2010 4:14pm (EST)

SAV-ATL Air Fares Fall After Complaints
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 4 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Savannah officials called Delta fares to and from Atlanta excessive, unfair and a threat to business.  The loss of competition from AirTran last year made Savannah a more expensive city for air passengers.  (photo <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrei_dimofte/2540981541/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrei_dimofte/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrei_dimofte/</a> / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a></div>)
Savannah officials called Delta fares to and from Atlanta excessive, unfair and a threat to business. The loss of competition from AirTran last year made Savannah a more expensive city for air passengers. (photo )
Delta has lowered air fares on its monopoly Atlanta-Savannah route after a public dispute between the company and local officials.

It started late last year when AirTrain stopped serving Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

Delta then became the only option for air travel between Savannah and Atlanta. Delta immediately doubled prices.

That concerned local business officials because air fares affect tourism and the price locals have to pay to conduct business in the state's capital.

So, last month, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Patrick Graham, the airport's Executive Director, wrote a letter to Delta asking for a review.

The company then wrote Graham, saying that its review found SAV-ATL fares "competitive." Graham described the response as dismissive.

The Savannah officials then shot back with another letter.

They noted that even tickets bought weeks ahead still exceeded $500, more than it cost to fly from Savannah to Los Angeles.

Now, after the second, more pointed letter, prices have come down.

Graham says, it might have nothing to do with the letters, but at least passengers are getting relief.

"Now that they've pulled that back to $278 (for advance purchase tickets), I consider that a reasonable fare."

Graham says, he expects walk-up tickets to be higher.

And he expects that Savannah-Atlanta fliers will continue to pay a higher price as long as Delta's the only game in town.