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Price Hike on Florida Routes Means Fliers May Have a Blue Christmas

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Major airlines have a gift for Florida fliers, special delivered just in time for the holiday season – fare increases.

Travelers flying to and from the Sunshine State will see a price hike across a handful of major carriers. United has raised one-way ticket prices on all Florida markets $10, while Delta, Southwest, and American followed suit with increases on most of their Florida routes. US Airways endeavored to push through a $10 spike on a larger portion of its domestic network but balked, limiting the increase to just the Florida region.

This is the 15th attempt by airlines to bump up domestic fare prices in 2012, seven of which have gotten the green light; last year, nine of the 22 proposed increases were successful.
Airlines cite fluctuating fuel costs as the primary motivator for the hike, but plumped up prices are nothing new. Holiday travelers in 2012 are paying approximately 8 percent more than they did last year. New Year’s fares are up five percent from 2011 as well.

The move will affect 16 percent of Southwest’s markets, an act company spokeswoman Katie McDonald said was due to the “continued cost increase of doing business.” Low cost carriers typically sets the bar for industry fares, as competing airlines don’t want to be out-gunned and lose business. With plenty of passenger demand for seats, airlines aren’t likely to put the kibosh on fare increases anytime in the near future.

For the remainder of the year, and beyond, it may cost a little more to get drunk in the Magic Kingdom.

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