United Airlines' Airfare Hike Attempt Successfully Revived by Southwest

UPDATE October 13, 2011 Noon EDT: Shortly after lunch on Friday (Oct. 12), Southwest Airlines revived the $4 to $10 roundtrip distance-based domestic airfare hike launched by United earlier this week – a hike United had rolled back on Thursday after a tepid response.

In almost a decade, we have never seen a domestic airfare hike that was quickly rolled back only to be resurrected by a low cost airline.

Once Southwest/AirTran revived the hike, other domestic carriers quickly jumped in (as is typical following low cost carrier participation), virtually assuring that what first appeared to be a failed hike will now become 7th successful airfare price increase of the year.

UPDATE October 11, 2012 – 5pm EDT: United has rolled back its airfare prices; the hike attempt has failed.

UPDATE: October 11, 2012 – 3pm EDT: Delta is rolling back; a move like this typically means a hike is heading toward failure.

UPDATE October 11, 2012 – 9am EDT: There was some significant matching by Delta last evening, but it is still too soon to say if the hike will ‘stick’.

October 10, 2012 – 9:10 a.m. EDT: Late last night, United Airlines filed a broad-based domestic airfare hike across a major portion of its domestic route system – the increases range from $4 to $10 round-trip or $2 to $5 each way.

Listen as airfare expert Rick Seaney explains why you should care:

What Happened to the Last Hike?

Hike: Just in Time for Thanksgiving

This is the 14th attempted airfare hike of 2012 – six of the earlier attempts have been successful.

This latest attempt is a double whammy for travelers as it coincides with the start of the busy Thanksgiving airfare shopping window. United’s competitors will have their first chance to match the carrier’s hike at 10 a.m. EDT.

Deals Blog: Where to Find Airline Sales

Hike Won’t Affect Current Airfare Sales

This latest hike attempt does not change the prices for the current off-peak sales initiated by Southwest and others yesterday, most of which are valid for travels into 2013 but excludes dates inside the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods.

Will the Hike Succeed?

The success of the hike attempt is unclear at the moment. Historically, predicting the outcome of domestic hikes is a coin toss, but we will update with the latest information as soon as it becomes available.



Published: October 10, 2012