U.S.-Based Airlines Raise Fares, Blaming Fuel Prices

Somewhat disturbing news from the Associated Press: Southwest Airlines is raising ticket prices, ostensibly to offset the high cost of jet fuel. On Monday, Southwest and its AirTran Airways subsidiary raised fares by between $4 and $10 per round trip, depending on the distance. It's the airline's third increase this year.

That's not the worst part. The worst part is that other airlines seem to be following the budget carrier's lead.

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, US Airways, Frontier Airlines and Virgin America announced that they matched the Southwest increase.

According to government figures, spot prices for jet fuel are up 12 percent so far in 2012, but just 4 percent from a year ago.

Southwest said this month that because it will pay more than it expected for fuel, it won't earn a profit for the first three months of the year. The airline also said it had seen a slowdown in passengers booking flights in late February—a trend not reported by other airlines.

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