When a trade group for corporate travel managers recently predicted airfares would rise in 2013, the group probably didn’t expect the hikes to be launched so quickly.
Domestic airfares are expected to jump 4.6% in 2013, and international rates are likely to rise 8.3%, according to a survey of travel managers by the GBTA Foundation, an arm of the Global Business Travel Assn.
The group attributed the increase to rising demand from companies that are ready to take advantage of new business opportunities in a strengthening economy.
A week after the group issued its prediction, Delta Air Lines, the nation’s second-largest air carrier, initiated a fare hike of between $4 and $10, specifically designed to hit business travelers who book within seven days of their flights.
By the end of last week, every major carrier had matched Delta’s increase, according to FareCompare, a website that keeps track of such hikes. JetBlue Airways expanded the increase to include flights that are booked beyond the seven-day period.
The airfare hike is the first of 2013 to take hold.
If the past is any indication, expect to see new hikes every two months or so. In 2012, the nation’s major airlines adopted seven out of 15 attempts.