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SOUTHWEST RAISES MOST FARES BY $5; OTHER AIRLINES FOLLOW SUIT

In a move matched by most other airlines, Southwest Airlines Co. has raised fares up to $5 one-way in more than half its markets.

Spokeswoman Ginger Hardage characterized the small changes as a routine review and fine-tuning of Southwest's fare structures."Prices tend to be adjusted frequently with minor adjustments," she said. "But it has been some time since this many long-haul routes have been adjusted at the same time."

The increases were implemented in about 400 of South-west's 725 markets. About 80 percent of the increases came on longer routes, and the average price hike was some 1.5 percent to 2 percent.

For example, Southwest raised its unrestricted coach fare between Birmingham, Ala., and Oakland, Calif., from $339 to $344.

Dallas-based Southwest did not hike prices across the board for all its fares. In each market, it made individual decisions on each kind of fare, including peak vs. off-peak travel and advance or last-minute purchases.

Most airlines raised their permanent fares to match Southwest's increases, even as the airline industry also matched Houston-based Continental Airlines' temporary fare sale for advance-purchase tickets bought by Sept. 16.