First Airfare Hike of 2016 is Declared a Success

UPDATE: Jan. 8, 2016 – The airfare hike has succeeded. The fact that the airlines involved in the launch/initial matching activity control about 80% of U.S. passenger traffic factored heavily in the success of the increase.

Jan. 5, 2016 – That didn’t take long. Here we are ringing in the New Year with an airfare hike. [See chart below] It all started yesterday when Delta Air Lines launched the first hike of 2016.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney actually discovered the hike.

Delta Launches First Airfare Hike of 2016

The hike isn’t a lot of money – up to $6 round-trip – but it covers a lot of flights.


  • Jan. 4 – 1 p.m. ET: Delta initiates the hike
  • Jan. 4 – 8 p.m. ET: Southwest matches the hike
  • Jan. 5 – 10 a.m. ET: American and United match the hike
  • Jan. 8 – Rick Seaney officially calls the hike a success

What we know:

  • Prices have been raised by up to $3 one-way
  • Hike covers flights for both business and leisure travelers
  • Includes short, medium and long-haul flights (all flights from 300 to 2,700 miles one-way)

The question now is, will it stick? Since Southwest jumped in so quickly, it may succeed, especially if American and United match later today. Stay tuned for updates.

What’s Behind the Hike

I was a little surprised at the timing of the hike, given recent economic indicators but what the airlines are doing is what they’ve always done: probing consumers’ appetite for travel by determining their pain-point on price.

This hike could still roll back; consumers will let the airlines know by accepting or rejecting the higher prices as they return to airfare shopping for Spring Break and business travel now that the holidays are past.

1st Hike: Success


Updated: January 8, 2016