I have not seen this in any industry and I am not sure how it is beneficial to Airlines.
Why is that air fairs touch sky when you want to plan a trip at last moment? What difference does it make? If prices are so high then people who are willing to travel will anyways drop their trip unless it is very urgent. If we consider such urgency, how often they come. People always plan in advance. But there could be some situations where some events come up in next week and you cannot attend it because of high air fairs.
Even if there is availability, no one will choose travel and airline is definitely loosing business.
Air Fares are generally controlled by pricing engines -- in most cases, made by a company called "Manugistics".
These pricing engines generally do a good -- albeit interesting -- job a generating prices. The prices are generated based on seating availablity, day of the week analysis, annual analysis (holidays), time of flight, time to spoilage, etc.
You may not agree with the prices you get, but the pricing engine's job is not to get you the best price, it is to get the best price for the airline, while being able to actually fill the flight. It is true that the high price will turn off certain travellers, but remember, they only need to fill the flight.
As for the future, there is some movement, in adapting pricing engines for Hotel Rooms and Car Rentals.