BRIEF: Rivals starting to match United's fare hike [Chicago Tribune]By Gregory Karp, Chicago TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Jan. 18--United Airlines' attempt at an airfare hike this week has gained momentum after seeming to founder.
United on Wednesday afternoon began raising prices on most domestic routes, according to FareCompare.com. The increases, based on distance traveled, range from $4 to $20 roundtrip.
However, they didn't catch on until Thursday, according to FareCompare. That's when US Airways, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways started to match the hike. Delta Air Lines began to match the rise in fares but pulled out. Southwest Airlines matched the hike on routes that overlap with JetBlue, according to FareCompare.
It's uncertain whether the fare hike will stick.
In the hypercompetitive airline business, fares typically rise when one carrier raises prices and other airlines follow. If competitors do not follow, the initiator usually drops back its fares.
The attempt is similar to one launched by United in the first week of January. That hike failed "after tepid support from the airline's competitors," according to FareCompare.com.
In 2012, airlines attempted 15 fare increases, of which seven were successful, according to FareCompare cofounder Rick Seaney.
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