I have written extensively about the increasing cost of fuel and its affect on the travel industry. If you haven’t already purchased plane tickets for your summer vacation brace yourself for some serious sticker shock.
Last week United Airlines raised fares in the United States and Canada by up to $30 round-trip in an effort to combat high fuel costs. Less than 48 hours later several other carriers followed suit including American, Delta, Continental and Northwest, which raised domestic round trips by $10 to $20 per ticket.
Times are so tough that even discount airline Southwest raised its rates–twice. Last Thursday the carrier raised its fares for the second time in a week after not raising them at all during the first quarter. Travel analysts say the airline was forced to raise rates by $3 to $10 because its revenue isn’t covering its costs.
Last week’s rate increase is the 8th time major airlines have raised prices since January 1st. In most cases carriers tacked on $10 to fares on routes under 500 miles in length, $20 on routes under 1,500 miles, and $30 on longer routes. Prices have risen $170 on round-trip trans-continental flights since the beginning of the year.
And just when you thought the airline couldn’t sock it to passengers anymore United Airlines announced yesterday that it plans to hike the fee it charges to change tickets from $100 to $150 effective immediately.
A spokeswoman for the airline cited near record-breaking fuel costs as the reason for the increase. The airline also added that it has reinstated its Saturday night stay requirement on all tickets where it competes with other full-service carriers. The move will impact more business travelers than leisure travelers since the typical business traveler would rather spend Saturday night at home than on the road.
Has the high cost of air travel got you re-thinking your summer vacation plans?