When it comes to airline price hikes, it’s all for one or none at all. Last week it seemed Delta Air Lines would get away with an increase of $10 to $20 on last-minute domestic roundtrips, because American, United and US Airways all joined in. This time, however, it appears they’ve been thwarted.
The Chicago Tribune says Southwest/AirTran and Jet Blue didn’t join in hiking up prices, which means the other airlines that had started to hitch fares had to begin partial rollbacks on Thursday and Friday.
“Domestic airfare hikes have had historical difficulty weathering a lack of low-cost airline support,” said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com in an alert Friday afternoon. “It is rare for partial rollbacks to not end up being completely rolled back — so this hike attempt is likely to collapse completely by the end of the weekend.”
In the price-hike game, one carrier will shuffle its prices up and hope that the others follow where they’ve led. If not, then the initial hiker, Delta in this case, has to drop back its prices.
This was the the sixth attempt to hike prices this year, but only three have been successful so far and adopted across the board by all airlines. The companies have been trying to deal with the rising cost of fuel.
“Airlines’ limited success in raising base ticket prices in a tough fuel-cost environment underscores how sensitive consumers — even corporate and last-minute travelers — can be to price,” Seaney said.
Airlines roll back latest fare hikes [Chicago Tribune]