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MONEY SAVVY

America West Discounts Flights Out of O.C., Sparking Fare War

July 29, 1999|E. SCOTT RECKARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Triggering a rare, short-lived fare war in Orange County, America West Airlines cut the price of all its flights from John Wayne Airport by more than half.

America West has 19 daily flights from Orange County with connections to 61 destinations through its hubs in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Its four nonstop destinations--Reno, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Phoenix--are now priced at $98 round-trip. The most expensive flight, to New York, is $398 round-trip.

The reduced fares are available through Tuesday. They require a Saturday night stay and seven-day advance purchase, and travel must be completed by Dec. 16.

At least four other carriers--American, United, Continental and Northwest--matched America West's move.

Before this week's promotion, America West charged $361 for a round-trip flight booked 14 days in advance to Phoenix, said Diana Real, an agent at Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates in Santa Ana. The current price, for travel booked a week in advance, is $98.

Round-trip flights from Orange County often cost several hundred dollars more than from Los Angeles International and other Southern California airports, but that occasionally changes without notice.

"Every once in a while, airlines will have a bunch of empty seats and they do what we call a fire sale," Real said.

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