9th Domestic Airfare Hike Attempt of 2011

Another Airfare Hike

See the graphic (below) to compare this year’s airfare prices with previous years.

UPDATE (4-6-11): The 9th attempted domestic airfare hike of 2011 has failed. The final remnants (price increases) were rolled back yesterday afternoon, making this the third consecutive hike to end in failure.

UPDATE (4-4-11): The 9th attempted domestic airfare hike of 2011 began to falter on Sunday (4-3). United and Continental, the airlines that initiated the hike, rolled back approximately half their increases while American rolled back about 5% of its matching activity.

Delta, US Airways, Alaska and JetBlue continue to maintain their matching from Friday. The rollbacks appear to be mostly related to maintaining a competitive equilibrium with Southwest airlines. Meanwhile, our proprietary software also detected some activity related to “peak travel” surcharges as airlines continue to tinker with them for the summer and are now filing them to include the 2011 holiday season.

EARLIER (4-2-11):

FARECOMPARE EXCLUSIVE: Late Thursday evening (March 31), United/Continental initiated an airfare hike of $10 roundtrip across the bulk of its domestic route system.

This is the 9th attempted domestic increase this year.

Majority of Airfare Hikes in 2011 – Successful

Six of those attempts where successful – what I call “sticky” – while the two most recent hikes in March, initiated by American and United respectively, were failures.

Meanwhile, the pattern for airfare hikes is changing. For much of this year, hikes had been initiated at the end of the week so that carriers could gauge competitor’s enthusiasm for matching over the weekend (and rollback if necessary, first thing the following week). However, the past two hike attempts were initiated earlier in the week (and, as noted, were ultimately failed attempts).

Which Airlines are Raising Prices

As for this latest attempt by United/Continental, here’s what I know: by 1pm Friday (April 1), both Delta and American had matched the hike, as did US Airways on its competitive routes.

JetBlue has also jumped into to match (unlike the previous week’s hike) which is likely to help this latest increase stick – plus, there was a smattering of matching on both 7 and 14 day advance purchase fares by Southwest Airlines, although this was not enough to be considered a match – yet.

FareCompare Chart Compares Airfare Prices in Recent Years

A deeper look at our historical database shows that the cheapest domestic prices between the top 50 U.S. cities (2,450 city-pairs) are trending higher than the peaks we saw during the height of the fuel crisis in July 2008.

Take a look at this graphic I created: See how domestic prices are trending higher year over year:

Coming up: There are only two domestic airfare feeds over the weekend, but we’ll keep a close eye on them – and update you on this latest airfare hike attempt on Monday.

What you can do: Sign up for FareCompare Airfare Alerts, and we’ll let you know when prices drop on your favorite destinations. Our sign-up is quick, easy and of course, it’s free.

Learn more about FareCompare and the cheapest days to fly and best times to buy airline tickets for year-round savings.

Author:

Published: April 2, 2011