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First broad airfare hike of 2013 looks may stick

NEW YORK (AP) -- Airlines are raising prices on some tickets that are often sold to business travelers.

Rick Seaney, the CEO of FareCompare.com, and J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker say that an increase of up to $10 per round trip seemed to be sticking.

The increase covered tickets bought shortly before travel — no more than seven days. Those are "higher-end fares" usually bought by business travelers or late-booking leisure travelers, Baker said on Monday. He called it the first substantive fare hike of 2013.

The increase was several days in the making. Delta Air Lines, which had tried raising prices on Feb. 13, offered a scaled-back fare increase on Feb. 19, which was finally matched by several other airlines, notably Southwest, according to Baker and Seaney.

Southwest carries more passengers within the U.S. than any other airline and has great influence over whether competitors' fare increases stick or get rolled back.

U.S. airlines imposed about a half-dozen broad fare increases last year, although they also offered frequent sales that offset higher base prices.

Airlines say they need more revenue to cover higher fuel costs.