Business, Finance & Economics

U.S. airfares go up just in time for the holidays


A Delta airline's aircraft takes off from the Ronald Reagan National airport as the sun rises in Washington, DC, on June 9, 2011.


Jewel Samad

U.S. airlines have raised their fares again, just in time for the holidays and with most expected to post a profit this quarter.

Delta Air Lines initiated the hike, raising fares by up to $5 each way on domestic flights, Rick Seaney of told The Associated Press. United Continental, along with Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier and Virgin America, have followed suit.

Depite speculation that low-fare carriers would avoid raising fares, meaning the latest hikes would be rolled back, Southwest and AirTran matched the increases, raising $2 to $5 one-way on nearly all domestic flights.

Airlines have reportedly tried to raise prices about 20 times this year, and about half the hikes have stuck, the AP reports.

(More from GlobalPost: FedEx: Holiday shipping to increase 12% this year)

The increase coincided with an industrywide sale kicked off by Southwest last week, though the discounts don't apply to travel days around Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to the Gannett News Service.

The cuts come "as most U.S. airlines are set to announce third-quarter profits amidst the backdrop of choppy economic headlines and stubbornly high jet fuel prices," Rick Seaney, CEO of, told Gannett.

JPMorgan manlyst Jamie Baker to the AP that the success of the latest fare hike — with all major airlines raising fares in less than 24 hours — "is a sign airlines are more optimistic than originally expected about demand through the end of the year."

However, American Airlines parent AMR Corp. has posted a third-quarter loss, blaming high fuel costs.