In other words, airlines may absorb the higher cost for several months before they pass it along to air travelers, according to industry experts.
In addition to raising airfares, airlines may try to boost passenger fees such as seat assignment charges or add a fuel surcharge to pass along the higher fuel cost. This will make it appear on travel booking sites that airfares have not increased, said Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst with Atmosphere Research Group.
“Airlines know that it is a very competitive market and consumers are very price-sensitive,” he said.
An alternative way to raise revenue — as suggested by Parker — is for airlines to cut back on the number of seats for sale, which will gradually push airfares higher, said Seth Kaplan, managing partner at Airline Weekly.
“Eventually it will impact airfares, but there is a lag time,” he said.