Every year the airlines seem to go through the same little fare-hiking dance, multiple times and with varying results. This time it’s United Airlines, which is trying to raise prices on domestic routes ranging from $4 to $20 roundtrip. The only fly in its pricing ointment is that it doesn’t look like the other airlines are going to follow suit.
As we’ve explained in the past, it doesn’t work if only one airline raises prices because then passengers will just book a cheaper fare with any of the other rival airlines.
The Chicago Tribune reports that United appears to be failing at its second attempt in 2013 to push those fares up, after nudging prices skyward on Wednesday afternoon. That report cites FareCompare.com, which noted that it looks like no one else is joining in the fun.
United’s first hike this year came in the beginning of January, an attempt that also failed after competitors refused to go along with the plan. If this one proves to be a nonstarter as well, the airline will likely drop its fares back down again so as not to lose out on customers.
It’s great news for travelers, of course, when this happens, but at some point it’s likely that there will be price increases. Someone will probably succeed, as last year there were 15 attempts to raise fares and at seven hikes, almost half of those tries were successful.
Rivals ignoring United’s second fare hike attempt [Chicago Tribune]