The five largest U.S. air carriers raised fares $10 round-trip on most domestic routes as fuel prices climbed to record highs, airlines and fare monitors said Monday.
Airlines boosted prices on both advance-purchase tickets and those bought just before travel. There was no increase on fares in direct competition with low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines Co., Tom Parsons of Bestfares.com said.
U.S. carriers have been raising fares, increasing fuel surcharges and considering merging or possibly selling assets to help cope with higher fuel costs.
"It appears the major airlines are again focusing their airfare increases on routes with no competition from low-cost carriers at the expense of those business travelers who are willing to fly their favorite legacy carriers no matter what the price," Parsons said.
United Airlines initiated the increase Friday and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Continental Airlines Inc. matched it over the weekend, spokesmen for the carriers said. Northwest Airlines Corp. and US Airways Group Inc., the seventh-largest carrier by passenger traffic, also adopted the increase, said Parsons and Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare.com.