Categorized | Airlines

Airlines push new round of fare hikes…

Posted on 25 October 2011

The nation’s biggest airlines announced a fare hike that would take effect just before the busy holiday travel season.

United, Continental and Delta added up to $5 each way to ticket prices for many flights within the U.S. It’s the second hike in a week after more than two months when base fares were largely unchanged.

Airlines have tried to raise prices about 20 times this year, and about half the hikes have stuck. Airlines often roll back price increases if key competitors don’t match them.

 

United and Continental raised fares by $2, $3 or $5 each way, depending largely on the length of flights. Delta confirmed to AP that it hiked fares by $5 each way on all flights of more than 1,500 miles.

 

As usual, of course, the success of the hike likely hinges on whether low-cost carriers – notably Southwest – match the increase. If they don’t, it’s likely the fare hike will eventually be withdrawn.

 

But even if the hike does stick, the higher prices may go unnoticed by some customers.

 

That’s because while airlines are have been raising fares, they’ve also been sporadically countering with fare sales meant to stimulate demand and help fill seats during unpopular travel dates.

 

Just last week, Southwest matched a small Delta-led fare hike — even while it was in the midst of a nationwide sale in which it was selling flights for as low as $79 round trip.

 

Fliers should expect that counter-intuitive mix of incremental fare increases and sporadic fare sales to continue into the winter

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