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Airlines Beginning to Hike Fares

There have been two major fare hikes in the past two weeks, both involving all the legacy carriers, and the first involving even Southwest. My colleague Tim Winship touched on this yesterday, but I wanted to give you some more details.’s Rick Seaney has the story:

“The first U.S. domestic system-wide airfare hike of the year was just two weeks ago, with all major legacy airlines participating – along with “low cost” Southwest Airlines. Then, yesterday at 12:30pm EDT – we began tracking a significant change in American Airlines domestic airfare pricing: increases of $10 and $20 roundtrip on a significant number of U.S. routes. Historically airfare hikes have been initiated on Thursday evenings, but neither this hike attempt nor the one we had just two weeks ago is following the historical pattern.

Not surprisingly, matching activity began yesterday evening at 8:00pm EDT – when United began to significantly match this hike across the bulk of its domestic route system.”

You may recall that last year, spring and early summer were characterized by a seemingly endless barrage of fare hikes (roughly 17 of them in all). So the fact that we’ve only had two this year is certainly something to be grateful for.

But two fare hikes in two weeks? That is definitely cause for alarm, especially when some airline executives think the flying public can handle higher fares. This, of course, remains to be seen, but judging from your comments of late, customers aren’t terribly interested in paying more to fly.

So what do you think? Is this the start of a trend, where airlines will try to push fares to the breaking point in the hopes of squeezing a few more dollars? Do you think these types of fare hikes will stick? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!

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