Airfares Rise by $10 Round Trip, and Steeper Increases Are Circling

Paying airfares at the airline counter
Paying airfares at the airline counter

The party may be over. This week, the airlines raised airfares by as much as $10. The way this usually works is one carrier raises fares and if its rivals match it, the higher rates stick. In this case, American Airlines was the first to increase fares by $5 each way or $10 round-trip for flights more than 500 miles, and by $3 one-way or $6 round-trip for shorter journeys. Its competition (United, Delta, Southwest, U.S. Airways, Alaska, Frontier, and Virgin America) matched them.

That's not very much. In fact, you might not have noticed the difference if I (and other media outlets clocking each twitch of the air industry) hadn't told you. But it's not over yet. The price of fuel is going up, and that accounts for as much as 29% of an airline's costs. Airfare watchers across the country, from American Express to Wall Street, agree that as fuel rates rise, so will the price of flights.