On Tuesday afternoon, Delta Air Lines increased ticket prices by $4, $6 and $10 across the bulk of their domestic route system, the 17th such attempt this year and first since early August (see the 2011 timeline below).
UPDATE AS OF 1 PM CST: ALL AIRLINES HAVE MATCHED.
At 8 p.m., United/Continental matched.
Airfare-hike attempts stick when the bulk of domestic airlines match within a few days – otherwise they are forced to roll back as their ticket prices become uncompetitive.
This attempt occurs as most U.S. airlines are set to announce third-quarter profits amidst the backdrop of choppy economic headlines and stubbornly high jet fuel prices.
An attempt to raise prices a few days ago on smaller cities met resistance which does not bode well for this crack at a price hike.
Holiday air travel prices were already trending up – and this hike attempt should increase the urgency of procrastinators to lock in Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly as it is unlikely any airline would attempt a hike without decent demand.
Underscoring the chaos of ticket prices, on Tuesday morning Southwest Airlines launched an aggressive three-day sale for non-holiday winter travel that has been widely matched.
FareCompare will update as this increase attempt unfolds.