You've heard by now that Continental Airlines hurried to cover its
exposed-but-ever-moving tail last weekend, once it became clear
that the other major carriers were shying away from matching its
With a media klieg light trained on Continental following
Friday's fare increase, the carrier blinked. Pre-hike fares
prevailed by Monday.
Now up pops a facinating twist: A spot check of current fares
found that many carriers used Continental's cloud cover to quietly
bump up ticket prices on selected flights while publicly backing
away from system-wide increases.
Sneaky? Maybe, a little. But what's interesting is the
heavy-duty scrutiny that any fare increase now receives. Time was,
this kind of an end run would likely have gone unnoticed. But
thanks to the Internet, changes in airline pricing structures are
instantaneously available to anybody with a mouse and a modem.
Travelers are harder to fool nowadays. God bless their little