United Raises Business Fares and Fees After Fuel Rise

April 20 (Bloomberg) — UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, the world’s second-largest carrier, said it’s increasing business- travel fares and ticket-change fees to offset fuel costs.United is requiring Saturday-night stays in about 65 percent of markets it serves, said company spokeswoman Robin Urbanski in an e-mail. That means higher fares for business travelers who don’t spend weekends on the road, said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.

(Full article here)

Well, as much as I’d like to point my finger at UA and say “bad airline,” what can really be done anymore? With record oil prices and AA losing $300mil+ in the last quarter, it’s hard to be angry at these airlines. Of course the fact that UA was the first to implement both this policy and increased change fee sucks, but maybe they’re most desperate than we think?

If other airlines follow what UA did then it’ll obviously stick, but if they consistently price out higher they’ll obviously have to drop it eventually. At the same time weekly business travelers will be getting smarter and smarter and instead of booking travel Monday-Thursday will probably start booking Thursday-Monday, just switching around their origin and destination. As I always say, only time will tell…

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