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Airfare hikes less likely, more limited, expert says

Only two airfare hikes have been matched by most airlines this year

Good news for airline travelers: Airfare hikes have become less common and, typically, target specific types of fliers or those in limited geographical areas.

That is the analysis of the latest attempts to increase airfares by Rick Seaney, an airfare expert and chief executive of the travel site Farecompare.com.

“Today, carriers 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.

So far this year, there have been only two fare hikes that have been matched by most of the major carriers. The first hike, in February, increased round-trip fares by about $4. The latest hike came in the last two weeks and raised round-trip fares by about $10, according to Seaney.

Seaney said airlines seem to focus the hikes on specific fliers, such as business travelers, or limited geographic areas, because a series of mergers in the last few years has reduced competition and increased profits for airlines.

“What we have instead is hiking activity that is more measured and infrequent,” he said.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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