N E W Y O R K, Sept. 9 -- — Responding to the highest fuel costs in the last 10 years, the nation’s top airlines are hiking prices on all domestic fares.
The six major U.S. airlines haveadded surcharges amounting to $20 perround-trip ticket — the fourth increase this year.
The airlines are calling the increase a fuel surcharge,meaning it does not immediately show up in the posted price ofthe ticket, whether checked online, over the telephone with theairline or through a travel agent.
The latest increase comes on top of a previous $20 round trip, or $10 eachway, surcharge added in January. There have been two regularprice hikes since then, which are included in listed fares.
Big Six Back Increase
In one scenario, a round-trip flight from New York toDallas with one stopover might be listed at $248, but carry upto $62 in fees on top of the posted price, said Tom Parsons,who tracks airline fares for the online travel companyBestfares.com.
That would include a total of $40 in fuel surcharges, pluspassenger facility charges added to fund airports and securitytaxes. “That is really going to tick off a lot of consumers,”Parsons said.
Airlines that have added the new charge include UnitedAirlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, NorthwestAirlines, Continental Airlines and US Airways.
With each of the big six airlines matching, “this is a donedeal,” said Bob Harrell, a consultant who tracks airline faremoves. “You’re talking about 90 percent of domestic capacity.”
Airline fares are highly competitive and increases by oneor more airlines typically collapse if not matched by at leastthe top five or six carriers.
Northwest Latest to Add Surcharge
Northwest Airlines todayjoined the nation’s other large carriers in raising domesticfares by adding a surcharge of $20 per round trip.
Continental Airlines posted the higher domestic fares Thursday.By Friday, TWA and the nation’s three largest carriers — United,American and Delta Air Lines — said they would match the increase.