Delta Hikes Top-End Fares by $100; Major Airlines Match

Delta Air Lines is raising some of its higher-end domestic fares by $100 roundtrip, a Wall Street analyst said Thursday.

Increases of $50 each way apply mainly to first-class and full-fare coach fares, JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker said in a report. Such fares are typically used by business travelers or other last-minute fliers.

The move comes as airlines continue to try to boost revenue and offset high jet fuel costs. Delta and other big U.S. carriers recently raised their fuel surcharges on trans-Atlantic flights and have pushed through several broad-based fare hikes this year that also affect leisure travel.

Delta's latest move raises the cap on its SimpliFares pricing plan from $599 to $699, Baker said.

Delta introduced SimpliFares about 18 months ago. The plan slashed many business-type fares and capped them at $499. The airline said it hoped to generate more total revenue by boosting business traffic.

Delta, now flying under Chapter 11 protection from creditors, last year raised the cap to $599 in the face of surging jet fuel costs.

Baker said American, United and US Airways matched the increase either partially or fully.

He said the fares involved generate about 6 percent to 8 percent of industry revenue.

A Delta spokesman confirmed the increase.

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