Three of the country's biggest airlines said today that they are raising one-way fares on most domestic flights as much as $30 a ticket as of Oct. 26, the second significant price increase implemented this month.
The disclosure by United, American and Delta airlines came against a background of increasing consolidation in the industry, which has been racked by fare wars over the last year and lost hundreds of millions of dollars this summer.
Charles Novak, a spokesman for Chicago-based United, said the increases are partly in response to strong growth in the number of airline passengers.
"We think it is a modest increase and will not dampen or discourage traffic growth," Novak said. "We think the product has been underpriced."
Spokesmen for Dallas-based American and Atlanta-based Delta said those airlines felt compelled to match United's increase.
Under the earlier increase announced Oct. 1, American, United and a few other major airlines raised prices an average of 5% on many regular fares on flights out of Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis, heavy traffic points. That increase was aimed largely at business travelers and did not affect discount tickets, which compose a significant amount of airline business.
The Oct. 26 increase will affect all other fares, the airlines said. First-class tickets will rise $15 for trips under 1,000 miles and $30 for trips exceeding 1,000 miles.
Regular fares will rise $10 for trips less than 1,000 miles and $20 for trips exceeding 1,000 miles, while discount tickets, which must be purchased in advance, will rise $10 regardless of mileage.