Airlines Hiking Holiday AirfaresOctober 16, 2009 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
FareCompare.com, an influential airfare monitoring service, reports an unusually large number of domestic U.S. city pairs with an increase of up to $16 roundtrip-- a hike initiated by American Airlines. FareCompare.com says Continental and Southwest started matching AA, quickly followed by Delta/Northwest, United and US Airways.
“Most airfare hike attempts occur late in the week and either “stick” or “fizzle” over the weekend as carriers decide whether or not to match — it is unusual to see an airfare hike early in the week which is typically reserved for discounting and sales,” FareCompare said in its analysis by CEO Rick Seaney.
FareCompare.com says American Airlines confirmed the mileage based domestic airfare increase at the following levels: zero to 450 miles - $3 one way/$6 roundtrip; 451 to 750 miles - $5 one way/$10 roundtrip; and 751+ miles - $8 one way/$16 roundtrip. A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told FareCompare they have matched with at a lower level than the legacy airlines (with no increase on their cheapest “fun fares”).
“This hike is layered on top of a targeted peak holiday surcharge of $10 each way over the past two weeks and appears to be well on its way to “sticking” as fourth increase of 2009 - all four occurring since June (compared to 15 total in 2008 and 17 in 2007), FareCompare says. “Flying on peak travel dates (especially around the holidays) has been historically pricey. This year is no exception as airlines have recently showed us exactly which days they consider to be “special”.
FareCompare.com alerted consumers on September 24 that American Airlines initiated (with all legacy airlines matching in the following days) a “Peak Travel Surcharge” ($10 each-way) to a majority of routes for departures on three very specific days: Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 29) and for January 2 and 3.
Over the past few days the FareCompare.com system noted several rule changes which show an additional ten days have been added with a $10 each way surcharge (13 total) as follows:
Peak Travel Surcharge Dates
* November 29 - November 30, 2009
* December 19, 2009
* December 26 - December 27, 2009
* January 2 - January 3, 2010
* March 14, 2010
* March 20 - March 21, 2010
* March 28, 2010
* April 11, 2010
* May 28, 2010
Most carriers have matched the Peak Travel Surcharge, so many travelers can expect to pay extra when flying for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and Memorial Day (see dates above), FareCompare.com concluded.