This week, American, Continental, Delta/Northwest, Southwest, United, and US Airways announced fare increases that range from $5-10 for short hops to $8-16 for flights farther than 751 miles—a move that will result in millions in profit for the beleaguered airline industry.
In the plus column, the airlines haven’t ascribed new fare hikes to “amenities” like those HandiWipe headrest covers or, you know, lighting and oxygen in the cabins, but FareCompare.com, a site that tracks ticket pricing, reports that airlines are ganging up to raise fares nonetheless.
This particular trend isn’t new. Several of these same airlines—American, Delta, Continental, United, and US Airways, as well as AirTran—recently tacked a $10 charge, called a Peak Travel Surcharge, onto airfares booked for 2009 holiday travel. As reported here, British Airways recently announced charges of up to $95 for passengers who would like guaranteed seat assignments.
Even with these recent fare bumps on the runways, airfares are at the lowest in years, down 14% from 2008, according to an August report of the Air Transport Association. So, grouse about being nickel and dimed by the airlines, but rest assured, the fare you’re paying is probably less than you paid last year.
Ann Shields in an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.