Here’s the latest, from Tom Parsons at BestFares.com:
Arlington, TX — April 11, 2008 – At about 11:30 a.m. EDT today, Northwest Airlines joined the ranks of United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines and US Airways in raising airfares up to $30 roundtrip for both leisure and business airfares.
“To have this airfare increase stick, all six of the major airlines must match this increase. As of now, American Airlines, who has their hands full with over 300,000 disgruntled passengers, has elected not to match this increase of up to $30 roundtrip initiated by United Airlines on the evening of Wednesday, April 9″ - says Tom Parsons, Founder and CEO of Bestfares.com.
“This three-tier airfare hike added $10 roundtrip on short-haul flights up to 500 miles each way; $20 roundtrip on flights 501 to 1500 miles each way; and $30 roundtrip on coast-to-coast flights. This is the 12th attempt to raise airfares or fuel surcharges since the weekend of December 20, 2007. While five of the six major airlines have currently raised their airfares, if American Airlines elects not to match these new increases by Sunday, April 13, we predict it will be rolled back as we have seen on four other occasions in the past four months” - adds Parsons.
Since December 20, 2007, the major airlines have now attempted to raise airfares and fuel surcharges 12 different times. Seven have stuck so far. See our list of airfare and fuel surcharge hikes and attempts listed below.
(1) Week of December 20, 2007: Major airlines raise fuel surcharges on leisure and Business Class fares from $10 roundtrip to $20 roundtrip. Total increase since December 18, 2007, $10 roundtrip.
(2) Week of January 7, 2008: Major airlines raise leisure and Business Class airfares by $10 roundtrip. Fuel surcharges still remain at $20 roundtrip. Total increase since December 18, 2007, $20 roundtrip.
(3) Weekend of January 11, 2008: United Airlines attempts to raise domestic airfares by adding a $30 roundtrip fuel surcharge to domestic airline tickets. Delta, American, Continental, US Airways and Northwest Airlines match. However, on January 14, 2008, Northwest rolled back their $30 fuel surcharge hike forcing the other major airlines, including United, to roll back their fuel surcharge increase. In other words, this attempt to raise airfares (by adding a $30 fuel surcharge) was a bust.
(4) Weekend of January 17, 2008: American Airlines attempts to raise domestic airfares by adding a $20 roundtrip fuel surcharge. Delta, United and Continental quickly match. Northwest Airlines and US Airways decline to match, forcing the other carriers to roll back their fuel surcharge. This attempted airfare fuel surcharge hike was a bust.
(5) Weekend of January 24, 2008: Major airlines double fuel surcharges on leisure and Business Class airfares from $20 to $40 roundtrip. Total increase since December 18, 2007, $40 roundtrip.
(6) Weekend of February 22, 2008: Major airlines raise airfares on both leisure and Business Class airfares $10 roundtrip. $40 fuel surcharge still in place. Total increase since December 18, 2007, $50 roundtrip.
(7) Weekend of February 29, 2008: Major airlines raise leisure and Business Class airfares $10 roundtrip. Total increase since December 18, 2007, $60 roundtrip.
(8) Weekend of March 7, 2008: Major airlines raise fuel surcharges from $40 to $50 roundtrip. Total airfare increase with airfare hikes and fuel surcharges since December 18, 2007, $70 roundtrip.
(9) March 14, 2008: United & Continental Airlines raised both leisure and business domestic airfares by $10 roundtrip on flights up to 500 air miles, $20 on flights 501 to 1000 air miles, $30 on flights 1001 to 1500 air miles, and a whopping $50 roundtrip on domestic flights over 1,500 air miles one-way. On March 15, 2008 American Airlines, Delta Airlines and US Airways matched the new fare hike. March 16, 2008 Northwest, the final hold out of the legacy airlines, matched United Airlines airfare increases.
(10) Weekend of March 21, 2008: Delta Airlines raises fuel surcharges by $10 roundtrip. United Airlines was the only major airline to match the new increase. Delta Airlines and United Airlines were both forced to roll back the fuel surcharge increase. This attempted airfare fuel surcharge increase was a bust.
(11) March 27, 2008: Delta Airlines raised domestic leisure airfares by adding a $10 fuel surcharge to most domestic airfares. This attempted airfare fuel surcharge increase was a bust for the second week in a row.
(12) April 10, 2008: United Airlines raises domestic airfares $10 - $30 in markets where they are not competing with low-cost carriers. Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways match the increase.
“If the other major airlines don’t go along with this fare increase, United Airlines will probably have to roll it back to stay competitive just like Delta Airlines had to do with both of its attempts in just the last three weeks” – advises Parsons.
“With all of the negative attention pertaining to flight cancellations, bad weather and hundreds of thousands of stranded passengers, American Airlines could be the spoiler on this airfare increase attempt. But, then again, we’ve seen stranger things happen in this wacky world of air travel” [said Parsons].