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Southwest Drops 'Friends Fly Free'

April 21, 1996

Southwest Airlines has dropped its popular "Friends Fly Free" program and replaced it with a summer promotion called "Take Along Fares" that ups the cost for a couple traveling together, but reduces fares when three or four are in the party. "Friends" prices, introduced in 1991 as a limited-time promotion and offered continuously for the last three years, were eliminated because the carrier wanted to try new marketing approaches, said Kristine Shattuck, Southwest spokeswoman.

The old program allowed a traveler who paid for a full-fare ticket to take a companion for free. The new promotion permits the full-fare traveler to take one to three companions, who each pay $50 round trip. So, a party of four traveling round trip from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, N.M., would pay $308 for the first ticket and $150 for the other three. Southwest base fares remain the same.

Restrictions abound and the fares are not available in Orange County, where John Wayne Airport limits the number of flights to meet noise and passenger ceilings and where most Southwest flights are sold out, Shattuck said.

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