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Citing cost pressures, several carriers hike fares

Heading into the Christmas holiday, some major carriers have raised air fares to offset added cost pressures.
American Airlines
American Airlines aircrafts are shown parked at a terminal at DFW International Airport in a Grapevine, Texas. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc. have both boosted round-trip air fares, and other airlines are expected to follow suit in order to offset high fuel costs.Donna Mcwilliam / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Heading into the Christmas holiday, some major carriers have raised air fares to offset added cost pressures.

American Airlines, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., raised its ticket prices Thursday between $10 and $40 for round-trip fares, depending on the miles traveled. Also Thursday, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. raised its one-way fares by $10 in most domestic markets.

Asked about the American and Delta increases, UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., said it filed a fare increase Thursday night. The filing was for a $10 round-trip fare increase on most domestic flights, spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said Friday.

“We will continue to study this throughout the days ahead to ensure we stay competitive,” Urbanski said.

Kurt Ebenhoch, a spokesman for Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines, said Friday that the airline matched United’s fare increase.

US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader said the Tempe, Ariz.-based airline also will raise prices. She said it would increase fares $5 each way for trips of 500 miles or less; $10 each way for trips between 500 and 1,000 miles; $15 each way for trips between 1,000 and 2,000 miles and $20 each way for any flight of 2,000 miles or more.

Rader said US Airways was raising prices “for the same reasons of other carriers: fuel costs.”

In American’s case, the increase doesn’t apply to sale fares.

American spokesman Tim Wagner said the fare increase was necessary to offset higher fuel costs. He said jet fuel prices are about 15 percent higher than this time last year and spot fuel is about 40 percent higher than this time in 2004.

Despite the increase, Wagner said fares are still lower than six or seven years ago. He said he didn’t think many customers traveling for the holidays would be affected by the hike.

“People who are traveling for Christmas, by and large, purchased their tickets long ago,” Wagner said.

Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said “ongoing cost pressures in our business” led to the carrier’s fare increase.