Yesterday evening in the 5:00pm EST domestic U.S. airfare distribution the FareCompare.com proprietary airfare processing system noted significant system wide airfare increase matching activity along with some minor rollback activity.
US Airways matched the 50$ roundtrip fuel surcharge increase along with Continental Airlines who significantly matched the increase after light leisure airfare only matching Friday evening, leaving only Northwest Airlines as the lone holdout so far of the six legacy airlines – Northwest has only shown minor price decrease activity since Friday afternoon.
Speculation on Northwest Airlines being a target for Delta, American and/or Continental mergers continues to swirl around the financial community which adds an interesting twist to the this unprecedented fuel surcharge increase initiated by United Airlines and lack of participation by Northwest to this point.
In the past Northwest Airlines has been one of the last airlines to match increases, so this is not particularly unusual that they have not matched to this point. If Northwest doesn’t match by Tuesday however, it could spell trouble for the stickiness of the increase. Passengers who are sitting on the fence today on purchasing Northwest Airlines tickets should do so now before prices likely increase later today.
The increase remains “sticky” in the majority of city pairs across the country with notable exceptions on competitive leisure routes that overlap with Southwest Airlines.
There are two (2) airfare distributions in the next few hours at approximately 10:00am and 12:30pm EST. I will update after these airfare distributions on any significant increase matching and/or rollback activity.