American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc., the three largest U.S. carriers, rescinded a $10 increase on round-trip tickets because rivals didn't match the higher prices.
UAL Corp.'s United, which initiated the increase Aug. 17 for tickets usually purchased by business travelers, canceled it Monday "so we can stay competitive," said Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for the Elk Grove, Ill.-based carrier. "The response wasn't there."
U.S. airlines have succeeded with 21 broad fare increases since 2005 and failed 17 times, said Jamie Baker, a JPMorgan Securities analyst. They have tried to raise prices this year to help cover higher jet fuel costs. The latest attempt was for first-class seats and tickets bought within seven days of a flight's departure in all U.S. markets.
"We could see this come right back," with another attempt in days or weeks, Minneapolis-based fare analyst Terry Trippler said.
That airlines tried the increase is a positive sign, given that travel drops off in September, the terrorism threat level was raised Aug. 10 and some carriers are increasing capacity, Trippler said.
AMR Corp.'s American, the world's largest airline, matched United's increase Friday and rescinded it Saturday because "we can't afford to be out of line with others," said Tim Wagner, a spokesman for the Fort Worth-based company.
Delta matched United on Sunday and dropped the increase Monday, said Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based carrier. Delta has been in bankruptcy protection since September.
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A nationwide increase in airline ticket prices fell apart over the weekend, the second time in two weeks that the major airlines have failed to raise fares.
Another round of airline fare increases faltered Monday as two carriers backed down, including Continental Airlines Inc., which had started the price hikes of $10 per round trip on many U.S. flights...
American Airlines passenger traffic is up for the quarter, rising about 7 percent higher than for the second quarter of 2004.
Northwest Airlines Corp. complained the loudest when Delta Air Lines Inc. capped many of its one-way fares at $499 in January. And on Friday, Northwest was the one to try to push those fares higher.