Three of the nation's biggest airlines have joined JetBlue Airways in raising fares, marking the second price bump of the year.
JetBlue raised prices last week by $6 per round trip, and over the last few days Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines followed suit. Air Canada and WestJet also matched the hike over the weekend.
The first hike of the year, another increase of up to $6 per round trip, was initiated Jan. 4 by Delta Air Lines and matched later by Southwest, United and American. JetBlue also raised fares Feb. 3, but its major competitors did not match that bump, and JetBlue rolled it back.
Rick Seaney, founder of the airfare-monitoring site FareCompare, said the increases are the carriers' way of seeing how high they can raise prices before travelers revolt by postponing or canceling air travel plans.
With the steep decline of jet fuel prices over the last year, the nation's largest airlines have been reporting record or near-record profits. Airfares have remained either flat or down slightly from the previous year, as carriers invest most of those profits into new airplanes, remodels of terminals, raises for employees and dividends for investors.
The country's airlines had two rounds of fare increases in all of 2015, according to Seaney — the same number as in the first two months of 2016. But last year's fare bumps totaled an increase of up to $14 per round trip, compared with this year's total of up to $12.
To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.