Fares up across the board

Why is it always five bucks? Why not $2.50—or $8.72 for that matter? Yep, I'm talking about yet another $5 fare hike rolled out last week by most major U.S. airlines, reported by Reuters.

It seems the usual reasons of "rising maintenance and labor costs, and jet fuel prices" led American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and United to jack up their prices. Some pulled back their increases in secondary markets and United said it dropped the increases on routes where it is trying to compete with low-fare rivals. Interestingly, one of those competitors, Southwest, did not raise its fares, though it certainly has done so in the recent past.

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It may be only five dollars, but these fare hikes do add up. Here's hoping the airlines figure out better ways of addressing their own structural problems than constantly passing their costs on to consumers.

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