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Sparked by American's Salvo, Airlines Declare Fall Fare War

September 19, 1996|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Major U.S. airlines launched the latest seasonal fare wars on Wednesday, slashing domestic fares by an average of 45% in response to an initial salvo by American Airlines.

Trans World Airlines announced even larger discounts of up to 55% for 21-day advance-purchase domestic flights.

American, a unit of AMR Corp., announced the cuts late Tuesday, just 10 days after major carriers raised their fares 2.5% to match a price increase led by Continental.

"Things are typically somewhat slower in the fall season, and we have good availability," American spokesman Tim Smith said. "This is what brings in incremental business that might not otherwise be there."

The tickets, which require a seven-day advance purchase, must be bought by Sept. 30 and apply to travel between Sept. 25 and Feb. 13. There are holiday blackouts, and a Saturday night stay is required.

American's Caribbean flights will be 25% lower for travel through Nov. 29. It also has existing fall fare specials to Canada and Europe.

United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and USAir Group Inc. matched American's fares.

American's seven-day advance purchase fares between Chicago and Boston are $272, down from $494. A trip between New York and Los Angeles will cost $408, down from $889.

Fares for the Caribbean are $338 between Chicago and San Juan, down from $483; and $305 between New York and Curacao, down from $406.

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