Airfare Hike Attempt Fails

UPDATE #2 – Oct. 30 – 4 p.m. ET: Airfare analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney reports that Delta has also rolled back prices. The short-lived hike attempt has failed.

UPDATE #1 – Oct. 30 – 10 a.m. ET: Analyst Rick Seaney says United has just rolled back the price hike it initiated Wednesday; as a result, the hike is faltering. Seaney predicts it will fail because Delta will likely roll back prices as well, so as not to be put in a disadvantaged position price-wise over the weekend. Stay tuned.


According to airfare analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney, United Airlines launched a modest airfare hike this week, raising some prices up to $4 round-trip. As Seaney put it, “Amidst yuletide joy stories of cheaper fares for the holidays comes the Scrooge-like domestic carriers which are once again probing the public’s willingness to pay more for tickets.” See 2015 hike chart below.

Airfare Hike Up to $4 Round-trip

Seaney said FareCompare data revealed the following:

  • Wed., Oct. 28 – 4 p.m. ET: United hikes 400,000+ domestic fares
  • Thurs., Oct. 29 – 4 p.m. ET:  Delta hikes 425,000+ domestic fares

Seaney noted this was not an across-the-board hike so common in recent years; instead, only select fares on various routes have been affected, though the hike targets business and leisure travelers alike. “400,000 is about half of the volume of an across-the-board hike,” added the analyst.

Fewer Airfare Hikes in 2015

It has been months since the last airfare hike. As Seaney stated last June, “Carriers today are less apt to toss spaghetti on the wall every two weeks with distance-based price hikes that are usually rolled back within a few days,” he said. “Instead we see hiking activity that is more measured and infrequent.” This latest increase certainly seems to fit the new hike model.

Seaney is waiting to see if other airlines will join in on matching activity which usually determines whether or not a hike succeeds or ‘sticks’. This post will be updated to reflect any new activity.

Chart updated as of Oct. 30, 5 p.m. ET

Airfare Hike Fails
Airfare Hike Fails


Updated: October 30, 2015