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

All is right with the world.

The economy is doing splendidly and, when you fly, you don't see too many empty seats.

These must be wonderful times for airlines

Or must they?

Whisper it quietly, but not all airlines are doing equally well. Some, indeed, are having to do things they might not really want to do.

Southwest Airlines, for example, has been under pressure to exert a little financial control of late.

It seems that its costs have unexpectedly risen. 

Fuel prices have, of course, played a large role. This can affect budget airlines more than those which have at least some reliance on business customers, who care a little less about how much they pay. 

(Though they care a lot about whether they get a drink before takeoff and their blanket is waiting there for them to bathe in.)

You might not have noticed, then, that Southwest has been stealthily raising its prices.

Indeed, as Bloomberg reports, it raised the price on another 21,000 fares on Monday. 

Did I say another

Well, since it offered a slightly disappointing financial outlook at the end of October, Southwest started pushing prices a little here and a little there.

So much so that, as of now, around 90,000 fares have gone up.

Oh, it's just a few dollars in each case, but when you add those few dollars up and multiply them by 90,000, you get quite a few more.

Southwest hopes you won't notice. It hopes that its brand remains strong and warm in your mind and that you won't shop around too much.

One way it does that, of course, is to make sure that its fares aren't visible on sites such as Kayak.

It wants you to believe it's the cheap, reliable option and not be unfaithful.

Perhaps that'll work. 

It would work better if every one of its rivals was struggling equally. But they're not.

United isn't doing badly either. Financially, I mean.

Might this force Southwest to make more radical changes to its service? 

Can you imagine the uproar if Southwest announced it was going to offer a really fancy First Class? 

Published on: Nov 28, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.