Southwest Airlines increased fares on the bulk of its routes by $10 roundtrip Friday, encouraging competitors to quickly match prices.
United, American, US Airways, Continental, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue and AirTran followed and raised their fares Friday evening, according to Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com, which narrowly monitors fares.
"I don't expect this hike to fail," he says. "I don't ever recall an airfare hike in which Southwest participated that was not widely winning in raising ticket prices."
Southwest says rising fuel costs forced its move. "We implemented a modest systemwide fare raise of $5 one-way to offset higher fuel costs," says Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillon.