FINAL UPDATE – Sunday, March 3 – 4:30 p.m. CST: Delta rolls back prices. This latest attempt – the airline’s second of back-to-back domestic business class airfares hikes – ends in failure.
UPDATE 2 – Saturday, March 2 – 4:30 p.m. CST: American and Delta are rolling back prices, and I expect Delta will roll back shortly.
UPDATE 1 – 9:30 a.m CST: United Airlines has matched the hike.
Friday, March 1, 2013 – 8:27 a.m. CST: If legacy airlines are worried the sequester will stunt business travel demand, they sure aren’t showing it.
Delta: Third Attempt at Raising Business Fares
Yesterday afternoon, Delta Air Lines – looking to build on last week’s successful airfare hike – made another run at raising domestic ticket prices for business travelers (those who purchase tickets inside of 7 days before departure).
The new hike, of from $4 to $10 round-trip – and in some cases as much as $20 round-trip for premium cabins – was the airline’s third attempt at raising business fares in as many weeks. Later in the evening, American Airlines matched this increase.
We also saw some limited activity earlier in the week by JetBlue and Southwest on business travel price points which may have provided some of the momentum for Delta’s latest effort.
Leisure Travelers Spared – For Now
Notice that leisure tickets, limited sale fares and weekender specials were spared by these past three domestic hike attempts, so it is pretty clear that carriers are concerned about over-cooking prices for domestic vacation travelers who would only be hit by increases on high-demand days yielding to more expensive price-points (for examples, Spring Break fares or Saturday/Sunday departures).
We will update on significant matching or rollback activity as soon as we learn more.