updated 7/8/2004 3:43:08 PM ET 2004-07-08T19:43:08

United Airlines has dropped the 5 percent fare increase on most international routes where it added the extra charge last week, a spokeswoman for the world’s No. 2 carrier said Thursday.

United had announced the increase June 30 for most U.S. flights to international destinations, citing the need to help pay for high fuel costs. But it rolled back the move for all of the affected flights except those to Latin America and Brazil after some rivals failed to match the move.

Spokeswoman Jean Medina said the increase was dropped on Wednesday for competitive reasons.

The reversal comes as summer travel is booming and airlines cannot afford to take competitive risks that might cost them the business of price-focused consumers.

United said Wednesday that its planes were 86 percent full in June, its best such monthly rate ever. But the carrier remains locked in a battle with discount competitors, which has limited its revenues and its efforts to get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Hurt by fuel costs that have hovered near record levels, U.S. carriers have made numerous attempts this year to have passengers share the burden of soaring jet-fuel prices. Virtually all have been rescinded within days when various competitors would not follow.

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