Feb. 21--The first airline fare hike of the year is modest and will primarily affect business travelers who book flights at the last minute.
Delta Air Lines, one of the nation's largest carriers, initiated the hike earlier this week by raising domestic tickets $10 per round-trip flight but only for high-priced tickets booked at the last minute.
United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways matched the Delta hike the following day, according to the fare-tracking site Farecompare.com. AirTran is owned by Southwest.
Another attempted hike failed this week.
American Airlines and US Airways launched a $22 fare hike for round-trip flights between the U.S. and Canada. United and Air Canada matched the hike, but Delta has refused to raise its fares for flights across the border.
Farecompare reported Friday that United and Air Canada are rolling back the hike.
Only two hikes were matched by all the major carriers in 2013, compared to 15 hikes in 2012 and 22 in 2011, according to Farecompare.
Airline industry experts say fare increases are usually pushed by higher fuel costs. But in 2013, the cost of airline fuel in the U.S. dropped by about 4.5% compared to the previous year, according to federal statistics.
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