Jets at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. (USA Today)
Dallas (USA Today) -- US Airways initiated a $4 to $10 roundtrip domestic airfare hike Wednesday night across the bulk of its U.S. routes, according to Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com.
This is the 19th domestic airfare hike attempt by the industry, he says. Despite uncertain economic conditions that have travelers penny-pinching this year, airlines are in a better position to raise fares because they've also reduced their capacity this year by eliminating flights and seats.
Two weeks ago, a fare hike by Delta Air Lines - by $4 to $10 for one-way trips across much of the U.S. - was quickly matched by competitors, including discount carrier Southwest and its subsidiary AirTran.
Fare increases don't always stick because some airlines balk and carriers don't like to price themselves too high against competitors. But Southwest's match is a pretty good sign that a fare hike would stick. A systematic fare hike is different than a fare sale, which is only a temporary reduction in prices for selected routes.
Analysts say the recent fare hike attempts reflect the carriers' confidence that demand will rebound in coming weeks as travelers book for holiday travel.
Seaney recently advised passengers that they should "lock in (fares for) Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly."