Airlines Follow United Continental Fare Hike

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The major U.S. airlines are on the verge of raising fares for the seventh time this year, following a $10 round-trip price increase by United Continental Holdings Inc. and a rival carrier's move to recalibrate pricing.

After the parent company of United and Continental airlines attempted to raise fares on Monday, Delta Air Lines introduced a staggered series of fare hikes ranging from $6 to $14 round-trip, depending on the length of the flight, according to FareCompare.com

By Tuesday evening, Delta pulled that fare increase, but American jumped in by matching the United Continental fare hike.

FareCompare.com Chief Executive Rick Seaney on Tuesday said he expected Delta to come back with a $10 match, followed by US Airways. And Delta and US Airways indeed matched the $10 hike shortly after noon today.

If it holds this would be the seventh successful hike in eight attempts by the major carriers, with more expected.

"It's likely legacy carriers will continue to probe on a regular basis with hike attempts," said Seaney, "tracking the trends in oil prices – testing both travelers' wallets and their low-cost cousins appetite to lift base prices."

Earlier this month, American filed to raise fares on domestic travel, only to pull the fare increase after none of its main rivals matched.

The major carriers have repeatedly raised fares this year in response to higher oil prices, which have escalated beyond $100 a barrel since the Libyan uprising progressed into a full-fledged war.

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