First Successful Airfare Hike of 2006 Official With Latest Match, Says Bestfares.com

ARLINGTON, Texas, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ — On Friday afternoon, US Airways matched the latest $10 hike in leisure fares initiated by Delta Air Lines on Thursday, says Tom Parsons, CEO of Bestfares.com, a discount travel website.

“In less than 24 hours, the major airlines have successfully completed the first official leisure airfare hike of 2006 now that US Airways has matched Delta’s increase from Thursday,” says Parsons.

Yesterday the Delta fare hike gave the green light for American Airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines to quickly match the leisure fare hike overnight, says Parsons. None of the carriers raised business walk-up fares in this latest fare hike. As of 10 a.m. Eastern Friday, Northwest Airlines also matched the fare hike.

Parsons says fares in 2006 will remain competitive in major markets, especially ones served by carriers such as AirTran Airways, Jet Blue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines. “In smaller markets not served by low- cost carriers, look for the major airlines to push fares much higher this year.”

Last week United Airlines, now exiting bankruptcy after three years, raised both leisure and business walk-up airfares $10 roundtrip system wide. Delta, American, Continental and Northwest Airlines quickly matched the fare hike. The only major airline not to follow United’s increase last weekend was the newly merged America West/US Airways. This prompted American to be the first major airline to back down from the $10 airfare increase on Sunday, Jan. 15, notes Parsons.

Bestfares.com’s Tom Parsons, one of the most sought-after travel industry experts in the United States, has been chasing down hidden travel bargains and bringing them to the traveling public for 20 years. Parsons regularly appears on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

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