Airlines Try For Yet Another Fare Increase

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Airfares are in a state of flux as major U.S. airlines attempt the fourth increase since mid-December.

This time, the airlines are taking a different approach and hiking fares based on distance.

Delta and United led the charge: Delta raised fares by up to $20 roundtrip, while United capped the increase at $10 roundtrip.

Delta raised fares $5 each way for trips less than 1,500 miles and $10 for longer trips.

On the other hand, United has three groupings: $2 each way for trips less than 500 miles; $3 each way between 500 and 1,500 miles, and $5 each way for trips more than 1,500 miles.

Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare, a company that uses proprietary software to track airfare changes, tells AOL Travel News that "a large portion" of routes within the U.S. have sustained the four increases.

He says they are also broad-based increases, affecting the fares used by business travelers and the advance-purchase fares popular with leisure travelers.

The exceptions are a few routes on which airlines "tend to tiptoe around Southwest," even though Southwest has joined in the fare-hiking fray lately.

The disparity has left a patchwork of fares on some routes, with some airlines matching Delta and others matching United.

Seaney says "either United or Delta will have to modify their hike to bring them into line with one another."

Airlines still live by the rule of "never being $1 more or less than their competitor," he says.

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