A Price-Fixing Attempt

A Wall Street Journal Story titled "Branson Starts Aerial War by Embarrassing Crandall" reports that "The battle over American Airlines proposed alliance with British Airways took an ugly turn yesterday, when the phone call that may forever haunt Robert Crandall, American's chairman and chief executive, surfaced publicly once again."

According to the story, Mr. Branson took out a series of ads that reprinted a transcript made by the U.S. Justice Department of a 1982 conversation in which Mr. Crandall is reported as saying to the president of the now-defunct Braniff International Airlines: "Raise your g----- fares 20%. I'll raise mine the next morning. You'll make more money and I will too."

The WSJ reports that this conversation came from a phone call that was secretly tape-recorded by Mr. Crandall's attorney and turned over to the Justice Department, which subsequently filed a price-fixing conspiracy charge against Mr. Crandall.

According to the WSJ story, an American Airlines executive is quoted as saying that Mr. Crandall is "terribly sad about this dirty trick by Branson".

The story does not report Mr. Crandall's feelings about his former attorney.