DALLAS_American Airlines raised many domestic fares by $5 each way but left prices unchanged on routes where it competes with low-cost carriers.
The Thursday night increase affected both advance-purchase tickets favored by vacationers and more costly last-minute tickets aimed at business travelers.
Tim Smith, a spokesman for the airline owned by Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., said the fare increase was needed to cover high fuel costs.
Shares of AMR rose $1.23 cents, or 5.14 percent, to close at $25.14.
Fall is typically a slower time for air travel, which could make carriers reluctant to raise fares.
But this week, UAL Corp.'s United Airlines raised fares to Hawaii and other carriers went along, indicating that demand is firming, said Rick Seaney, chief executive of travel Web site FareCompare.com.
Jamie Baker, an analyst for JPMorgan, said the recent run-up in spot prices for jet fuel made it highly likely that other network carriers would match American's fare hike.
Other carriers were studying American's increase before deciding whether to match it.
Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines Inc., said the Atlanta-based carrier had not made any fare increases Friday. United and Continental Airlines Inc. had not raised fares by midday but declined to rule out an increase. Northwest Airlines Corp. did not immediately return calls. US Airways said they were studying the increase but had not yet decided if they would match it.
If the higher prices stick, it would mark the seventh such increase this year, Baker said.
Baker said American and Northwest were most likely to further reduce flights because of their large numbers of fuel-inefficient narrow-body jets. Last week, US Airways Group Inc. said it expected to cut capacity 4 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year.
American Airlines, the nation's largest carrier, had matched Continental's increase but also retreated on most routes. US Airways Group Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. did the same, and Southwest...
The leading low-cost carriers, Southwest and JetBlue Airways Corp., said Friday they had not raised prices.
Airlines also have gotten a break from falling jet fuel prices with price per gallon 30 cent less than what some analysts had predicted for 2007.
Higher air fares looked more likely Friday as American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways went along with competitors' increases that the companies said were necessary to offset rising...