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Southwest ignites summer fare battle

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  March 19, 2009 11:16 AM

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If you've got money to travel this summer, things are looking good.
Southwest has just launched an online summer fare sale with one-way fares as low as $49 between cities across the nation for travel through Aug. 14 and the move nearly immediately rippled through the industry on competing routes.
The Southwest sale is good through April 6, and a 14-day advance purchase is required. Travel on Fridays and Sundays is excluded, and there are blackout dates. Here is the fine print.
The discount carrier, which will launch service at Logan in fall, offers daily nonstop service to eight cities on 27 flights out of Manchester, N.H., and to nine on 31 flights out of Providence. It also offers connecting service to dozens of other destinations from both cities.
Some sample one-way sale fares: From either Manchester or Providence to Baltimore or Philly $49, to Orlando or Fort Lauderdale $79, Chicago $89, and Vegas $99.
Bloomberg News has now reported that American, Continental, and US Airways say they matched the reductions.
This is, I think, just the beginning. The airlines are still facing tremendous softness in business and many are planning further cuts in schedules, but it doesn't appear as if many of those will fully be in place till fall so expect to see competitive fares for this summer.


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