American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways doubled their fuel surcharges to $40 from $20 on domestic round-trip tickets over the weekend, matching a move by Continental Airlines last week.
After two industry efforts to raise fuel surcharges failed, airlines were more selective in increasing the fees, raising them on 66 percent of their respective networks, according to fare tracker FareCompare.com.
"This slightly less aggressive approach may be an attempt to give this airfare increase a greater chance of 'sticking'," said FareCompare.com Chief Executive Rick Seaney in an email late Sunday.
The previous two attempts — one led by United Airlines and the other by American — were initially matched by other major airlines, but failed to hold after consumers balked at the higher fees.
With the U.S. economy slowing, airlines have struggled to pass higher fuel costs on to passengers.
In the last few days, American Airlines parent AMR Corp., United Airlines owner UAL Corp., Delta Air Lines Inc., and US Airways all posted fourth-quarter losses because of soaring fuel costs.