Travelers aren't just feeling the pinch at the gas pump, but also in the air as carriers continue to hike fares to deal with high jet fuel prices.
Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, said Monday it raised domestic fares in most cases $10 to $40 per round-trip, in the form of a fuel surcharge.
The latest hike covers the bulk of Atlanta-based Delta's route system, according to Rick Seaney of airline ticket researcher FareCompare.com.
A spokeswoman for Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp. said the carrier was studying the Delta-initiated fare hike. Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways Group Inc. also was studying the Delta move, a spokesman said.
A spokesman for Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp.'s American Airlines did not immediately return an e-mail Monday seeking comment on whether it would match the Delta hike.
Airlines have been hiking fares in recent months to deal with soaring fuel prices, spurred by oil, which currently stands at nearly $120 a barrel. Some fare increases have stuck, while others have not.
Northwest said Friday night that it would match a previous 3 percent to 5 percent increase first implemented by Chicago-based UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and matched by Delta, American and Houston-based Continental Airlines Inc.
Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson said last week that domestic carriers need to raise ticket prices 15 to 20 percent just to break even at existing fuel prices. United, Delta and other major carriers reported this month billions of dollars in combined quarterly losses.
Some major carriers are looking at consolidation to protect their futures.
Delta is seeking to buy Northwest in a stock-swap deal. US Airways and United are in talks about a combination, people familiar with the negotiations have told The Associated Press.
Some smaller carriers, meanwhile, have filed for bankruptcy protection or gone out of business in recent months.
The latest casualty was all-business-class carrier Eos Airlines Inc. The Purchase, N.Y.-based airline, which flew between New York and London, operated its last flights Sunday.