24 JUL 2012: Get ready to spend more to fly within the US. It looks like United’s increase over the weekend has ‘taken’. United raised fares Friday by $4 to $10 per round trip, depending on flight length and over the weekend Delta, American , US Airwaysand JetBlue all matched that. So did Southwest Airlines and its AirTran subsidiary on flights of at least 500 miles.

So after a long lull that coincided with falling fuel costs, the airlines can look to some increases. .

Fare watchers said it was virtually certain that the new prices would stay, resulting in the fourth fare increase this year and the first since late March.

Southwest makes it stick

``Southwest participation virtually assures the hike will stick,'' said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com.

Southwest carries more passengers within the US than anyone and is seen as a price-setter on many routes.

The airlines raised domestic base fares nearly a dozen times last year, citing rising fuel prices. But they grew more cautious this spring as the economy weakened and fuel prices fell along with a decline of about 20% in oil prices.

Not all passengers pay the higher base fares. Airlines constantly promote various sales, which lessen the impact of their base-fare increases.

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