UPDATE Monday, Feb. 25: Delta’s airfare hike is successful, but as Rick Seaney notes, “Only on business fares inside of seven days of departure for domestic flights.” In other words, most of those affected are business travelers who purchase airfare at the last minute.
3:30 p.m. CST Thursday: All legacy airlines and the low cost carriers have now matched Delta’s “business fare” increase, a hike JetBlue also extended to its leisure fares. It’s not clear yet if other airlines will extend the increase to leisure fares, especially since Southwest has declined to do so – at least so far.
1:35 p.m. Thursday: From airfare analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney: “US Airways began matching this morning and solidified a full match just after lunch – leaving United as the only legacy airline as yet to match. I would be surprised if United doesn’t join later this evening.
JetBlue which typically marches to its own drumbeat – has not only matched moments ago – but has extended the hike to include leisure airfare (tickets purchased outside of 7 days before departure).”
10:05 a.m. Thursday: As of Thursday morning, US Airways has started matching the airfare hike.
8:25 a.m. Thursday: Wednesday afternoon, American Airlines began matching the Delta initiated “business fare” hike and in the evening Southwest Airlines began limited matching.
9:45 a.m. Wednesday: For the second time in a week, Delta has initiated another airfare hike attempt – the 4th overall of 2013 – on domestic fares bought within seven days of departure, which are usually purchased by business travelers.
Delta’s last airfare hike was similar, and ultimately failed because no other carrier matched the increase.
“This increase attempt compared to last week is less aggressive, as Delta this time left unchanged about 40% of the cheaper business travel price points which sometimes spill over into leisure travel – a tactic likely intended to entice competitors who last week exhibited no interest whatsoever,” said airfare analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney.
Watch for updates here, as Delta’s competitors decide to match this increase or not. So far, no airfare hike attempt in 2013 has been successful.