It looks like air fares are going up again this year.
Southwest Airlines Wednesday posted $10 one-way fare increases on some 400 routes, reports Rick Seaney, CEO of Farecompare.com.
Southwest’s initiative was quickly matched and extended by the nation’s largest carrier, United.
Seaney said he expects other airlines will follow suit with both United and Southwest already opting for the increases.
If the fare increase effort is successful, domestic airlines will have increased their fares six times in 2012. They have failed to make fare increases stick seven times this year.
One airline usually starts a fare increase by posting higher prices on electronic reservation systems. If all major airlines follow, the fare usually sticks. If one major player fails to follow suit, the fare increase effort usually fails as airlines that have already posted increases retreat fearful that their higher fares will cost them market share.
Southwest often plays the spoiler in fare increase attempts, but with it taking the first step, its likely the fare increase may be duplicated across the board.