Latest Airfare Hike Attempt Falls Apart

UPDATE: Monday, March 10 – According to Rick Seaney, the attempted hike has failed.

UPDATE: Friday, March 7 - Rick Seaney now reports the hike is beginning to roll back.

Earlier:

Airfare analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney reports that another airline ticket price hike attempt of up to $10 per round-trip flight – a hike targeting business travelers only – is showing every indication it will be successful (though it is too soon to call for now).

US Airways Launches Hike, Others Quickly Join

Here is the timeline:

  • Tuesday, March 4: At 10 a.m. eastern, US Airways launched a small number hikes on last-minute fares favored by business travelers. Later in the day, it expanded those hikes.
  • Wednesday, March 5: At 1 p.m. eastern, a relatively small amount of matching activity was noted by American, Delta and United. Then at 4 p.m. Seaney noted that American and US Airways were “raising these prices in earnest” on a significant number of routes. By 8 p.m., United matched this latest activity.
  • Thursday, March 6: At 1 p.m. eastern, Southwest does some minor matching.

No further activity has been reported since Thursday but FareCompare will update when something happens. Meanwhile, as analyst Seaney points out, “The bottom line is that airlines are able to raise the base prices of their most expensive tickets – for business travelers – but they’re having no luck on leisure travel side due to that lingering need to fill those empty middle seats with the earlier-shopping vacation flyers.”

See the chart below for all of the hike activity of 2014.

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Published: March 7, 2014