Moylan investigating possible airfare price gouging by United Airlines

Photo: United Airlines

Guam Attorney General Douglas Moylan has opened an investigation against United Airlines for possible price gouging on airfare to Guam in the aftermath of Typhoon Mawar.

Officials from the company are saying that higher airfare rates online are the result of an “IT error.”

“Based upon recent news reports, United Airlines appears to be in violation of Guam Law by raising prices by in excess of 600 percent of pre-Super Typhoon Mawar ticket prices for airfare to return to Guam,” Moylan wrote in a letter to United Guam General Manager Sam Shinohara.

“Guam residents submitted several videos to the AG’s Office complaining of economy class, one-way fares in excess of $8,000 for a return ticket to Guam.”

Dan Weiss, managing director of global government and regulatory affairs at United, replied to the AG in email forwarded to the media. 

“I can confirm to you that United is not price gouging. We had an IT error within our website and once United management was made of aware of the problem it was quickly rectified. In the coming few days we will provide you are more substantive response to your inquiry,” Weiss stated.  

United corporate communications issued a statement Monday afternoon, following Moylan’s announcement of an investigation.

“Currently, most of the lower fares have been sold out due to strong travel demand to Guam as a result of Typhoon Mawar. We continue to assist customers with flight changes to help get residents home from Japan and Hawaii,” the company stated.

“A travel waiver remains in effect through 05 June. To assist residents who are traveling back to Guam, we’ve recently launched a special fare from the U.S mainland and Hawaii until 27 June, and fares from Honolulu to Guam are starting at as low as $970 for this period.”

Moylan said the investigation by his office will look into possible violations of Guam’s Deceptive Practices Consumer Protection Act, and possibly other Guam laws, by United.

“These are very serious allegations,” Moylan wrote to Shinohara.

“I welcome our timely meeting to discuss clarifying information that may not be accurate, and if so, resolving this matter in a timely manner to avoid actions by the government of Guam to protect our people and their rights under Guam law. Given the likelihood that airfare prices that are complained of will interfere with our recovery, the AG’s Office is expected to act quickly to protect our community.”

Guam Del. James Moylan over the weekend wrote to John Kirby, United president and CEO, and John Quinata, Guam International Airport Authority executive manager, about the price of airfare. The delegate, who has been looking to return to Guam after Mawar, put ticket prices at between $4,000 and $7,000, compared to $2,500 to $3,000 price tags back in 2022.