In an effort to stem huge losses, the big U.S. airlines increased their domestic ticket prices heading into the weekend by $10 to $20 round...
In an effort to stem huge losses, the big U.S. airlines increased their domestic ticket prices heading into the weekend by $10 to $20 round trip, depending on the length of the flight.
Stung by high fuel prices, the industry has attempted to raise fares many times in the past year. Only in the past few months have the price increases stuck, however, as passenger demand rises and fewer seats become available.
“Some routes are definitely up,” said Bob Harrell of New York’s Harrell Associates, which tracks fares. But the growth of low-cost carriers has kept average fare levels under pressure, with business fares down 32 percent from a year ago and leisure fares up 10 percent, Harrell said.
The latest round of fare increases was launched by American Airlines, which increased ticket prices systemwide Wednesday night by $2 to $6 round trip.
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Delta Air Lines upped the ante Thursday by raising round-trip fares by $10 to $20. American then mimicked Delta yesterday morning, spokesman Tim Wagner said.
By yesterday afternoon, the moves were matched to one degree or another by Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways Group, America West Airlines and Continental Airlines, Wagner said.
Carriers generally decide over a weekend whether to make the fare changes permanent. This particular fare increase is different from previous efforts in that the carriers raised fares by $2 to $6 on routes where they compete with low-cost carriers, Wagner said.
Carriers have blamed the high price of jet fuel and the encroachment of low-cost carriers for their travails, which have included more than $30 billion in losses since 2001 and bankruptcy filings by United and US Airways.