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Web Site for Resale of Air Tickets Crash-Lands

July 01, 2001|JANE ENGLE

FairAir, an innovative San Francisco-based company that promised to let customers transfer or re-sell airline tickets bought on its Internet site, ceased operations June 22, just a month after its debut.

In an era when major airlines bar customers from transferring their unused tickets to others and charge up to $100 to exchange tickets or change itineraries, the company's concept seemed appealing to consumers.

But only four airlines--America West, Midway, National and Northwest--offered tickets on the site, http://www.fairair.com, mostly on a limited basis.

"The airlines, in the end, didn't want to supply us with the inventory [of seats]" because they feared losing revenue from such factors as change fees and business passengers opting for lower-priced tickets, FairAir CEO Frank Levy said last week.

The site sold "a modest amount" of tickets but not enough to satisfy investors, he said. He declined to say how many tickets were sold.

Another possible deterrent:FairAir customers were charged fees both to buy and to resell or transfer tickets, up to 6% of the ticket price.

Levy said participating airlines will honor tickets sold through FairAir.

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