Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

You'll likely not have noticed.

It's one of those things you accept, because that's the way of the world.

It's still not something that's a great sign for the months to come.

Airlines have been buffered by various trials of late. 

There was the government shutdown. Then, for three of the four big airlines, there was the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

Passengers might have wondered whether there'd be consequences.

Well, what do you know?

Last week, American Airlines raised its ticket prices. 

As the Chicago Business Journal reports, domestic fares went up by $5 for a single leg.

American wasn't the most affected by the MAX grounding. It has 24 MAX's, while, for example, Southwest has 34.

Actually, speaking of Southwest, it did something surprising last week too.

It mirrored the American increase.

This made analysts' eyebrows turn to the sky, as well as, perhaps regular business travelers.

You might think, indeed, that an airline that prides itself on its more friendly, cost-effective nature might feel it could take advantage by offering a slightly cheaper fare than American.

Yet what took analysts aback is that Southwest raised its prices across the board, regardless of the length of the flight.

This feels like a portent of pain.

Many airlines, American and Southwest included, are under pressure to improve their financial performance.

That's harder to do when you've had to send some of your newest planes to the desert, while authorities try and work out if they're safe.

So as the summer unfolds, and demand increases, it may be that these and more airlines will decide it's time to make as much money as they can.

After all, it's often the case that when one or two of the bigger airlines raise their prices, the rest follow suit.

It's a curious approach to competition, to be sure.

Published on: May 12, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.