Rick Seaney has a great post about the “tweak,” a move used by airlines to piss off competitors by offering discount airfares from their rival’s hubs. The spurned airline will often retaliate by tweaking the offender back in return. Rick Seany explains:
At 10am Airtran filed an airfare between Memphis and Minneapolis (both are Northwest Hubs) for $69 each way — $50 less than the current cheapest price on Northwest (Northwest has the only daily non-stop).
So why do airlines employ the “tweak”?
Airlines watch each other closely. They certainly don’t want to be blindsided by another airline and are fiercely protective of their market share between certain cities. So in this case it is most likely that Airtran doesn’t like something that Northwest “did” to them out of Atlanta (Airtran’s Hub).
The practice is apparently fairly common. If you live near a hub, keep an eye open for competitors trying to tweak the entrenched carrier.