Southwest Airlines' Fare Hike Will Probably Work Because The Other Carriers Are Sheep

Whatever Southwest Airlines gets, Southwest AIrlines gets. At least when it comes to instituting price hikes, because when it goes for one, all the other carriers usually fall right in line. This time, Southwest is attempting a $5 increase on one-way routes of less than 500 miles. It’s the eighth attempt this year by airlines to raise fares, and it will probably stick, say experts.

The coolest kid in school already has major legacy carriers backing up its hike — Delta, US Airways, United and American — notes USA Today, while Virgin America upped its prices on short-haul markets where it’s in direct competition with Southwest.

Airlines are still boo-hooing over fuel prices, the most popular reason we’ve heard this year for hiking prices.

“We never want to increase fares for customers, and are proud of the low fares we offer on Southwest.com,” says Ashley Dillon, a spokeswoman for Southwest. “Sometimes, though, an increase is necessary to cover the cost of our business, including fuel.”

Out of the eight attempts this year, four have already been successful, so Southwest’s latest move would bring that total to five. There were 22 attempts last year and nine of those worked out. Delta just failed at raising prices on tickets bought at the last minute with more leg room, but the other carriers didn’t match that. It’s gotta be all in, or nothing.

“It is pretty clear that domestic airlines would like to hike domestic prices … but seem skittish about continued broad-based hikes and are switching, at least temporarily, to plan B — targeting specific segments of the flying public,” says the CEO of FareCompare.com, reiterating that Southwest is pretty good at convincing everyone else. “It is rare for any type of hike where Southwest participates to fail. Rather, the opposite is normally the case, as many hikes fail due to their lack of participation.”

Previously in fare hikes: Airlines Forced To Roll Back Price Hike Because Not Everyone Joined In; Airlines Hike Up Fares Yet Again, Blaming Higher Fuel Costs 

Southwest raises fares; other airlines follow [USA Today]