American Airlines has bumped up domestic fares by $10 per round trip and raised round-trip fares to Canada and Hawaii by $20. The change raised fears that other carriers might follow AA’s lead, increasing prices as well. Delta said it was studying the move but had not matched American yet. United, Continental, US Airways, JetBlue and AirTran haven’t raised their prices either. However, JetBlue did raise the charge for checking a second bag to $35 from $30 last week, and AA increased phone reservation to $25 from $20.
But with the rising cost of jet fuel, it is not an impossible scenario to see other carriers raising their prices, and if this AA increase sticks, it would be the seventh broad price hike this year by U.S. airlines. Rick Seaney, CEO of travel website FareCompare.com, told AOL travel news that airlines may attempt weekly raises through the end of April. Seaney said that 2011 is running almost parallel to early 2008 in the patterns of oil prices and airfares.
“Airlines who finally started making a profit late last year have little choice but to pass on fuel costs to consumers in the short term,” he said.
“We believe at this point our customers understand the economics of what’s happening,” said American spokesman Ed Martelle. “We also understand there is some point there, where there could be resistance. We don’t believe we’ve reached it as of yet.”