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Airlines Hike Premium and Last-Minute Fares

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Airlines are in a fare-hiking frenzy, this time targeting business travelers and well-heeled vacationers. USA Today reports that American, Continental, Delta, United, and US Airways have raised business- and first-class fares and last-minute fares by $20 to $60 round-trip.

According to USA Today, “It’s the third time this month that the industry has tried to charge business fliers more, and the fourth time this year that leisure travelers saw a jump in prices.” Delta tried a similar hike last week, but other airlines chose not to match.

Hikes to premium and last-minute fares are mostly targeted toward business travelers, who can afford to sit up front and often have to book on short notice. Business travelers are often seen as crucial to airlines’ bottom lines for exactly this reason, so hitting them with fare hikes seems somewhat counter-intuitive. However, relative to the airfares often paid by business travelers—premium and last-minute fares can easily top $1,000—this hike is a bit easier to stomach.

Still, the fare hike trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Fuel prices keep rising—crude oil recently topped $100 for the first time in years—and as long as it does, airfares will follow suit.

Readers, how much more of this fare hiking business can you take?

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