Music

Judge Quotes ‘Les Misérables’ Lyrics While Blocking JetBlue & Spirit Airlines Merger

A U.S. District Court judge blocked JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines this week, and got a little musical in the process.

At one point in his 109-page ruling, Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts quoted lyrics of “Master of the House” from Les Misérables to attack junk fees on airlines: “Reasonable charges / Plus some little extras on the side! / Charge ’em for the lice, extra for the mice / Two percent for looking in the mirror twice / Here a little slice, there a little cut / Three percent for sleeping with the window shut / When it comes to fixing prices / There are a lot of tricks I knows / How it all increases, all them bits and pieces / Jesus! It’s amazing how it grows!”

Young ultimately sided with the Justice Department in deciding that the merger would reduce competition in the airline business. If it had gone through, a merger between JetBlue and Spirit Airlines would have created the United States’ fifth-largest airline following American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines — who control about two-thirds of the market, per the New York Times.

The Justice Department argued that smaller, lower priced airlines like Spirit help reduce fares for customers. The Department also added that allowing JetBlue to purchase the company would harm consumers as JetBlue typically offers higher prices for their flights. Judge Young agreed, ruling that the merger would “likely incentivize JetBlue further to abandon its roots as a maverick, low-cost carrier.”

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