Starting early Wed., the legacy carriers began to match the United Airlines fuel surcharge increase of an additional $10-$20 roundtrip initiated late Tues.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This brings the domestic fuel surcharge for many markets to $70 roundtrip from its previous high of $50 roundtrip.
Here’s how the matching went (and in this order):
- US Airways matched only at the $20 roundtrip level
- Delta matched at the $10 and $20 roundtrip level
- Continental matched only at the $20 roundtrip level
- American matched only at the $20 roundtrip level
- Northwest just matched at 12:30 today
For more details, and my take on this…keep reading.
Interestingly, a few of the “matching airlines” didn’t even bother with the $10 increase and opted for the $20 roundtrip increase across the board. And, it should be noted, all matching was across the respective route systems, but the carriers continued to tip-toe around low cost airline routes, as well as the very cheapest promotional leisure airfares flown by the fewest passengers.
I was skeptical that this increase would stick given the two scuttled attempts by Delta in late March and the base airfare increase of up to $30 that was widely matched this past week; but it seems the price of oil coupled with comfort on summer demand (along with the announced capacity cuts) are providing an environment where the airlines feel comfortable with this new increase — at least, for the moment.