Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Major 2-Day Southwest Fare Sale for Fall

After a lull while airlines tried to get some footing, the fare-sale fandango seems to be resuming. In the dead of night, Southwest announced a two-day fare sale for fall travel on almost all of its city pairs. Very unusual.

Here's the update from Rick Seaney at Farecompare.com:


From Rick Seaney, 2 a.m. July 7:

"Moments ago Southwest launched one of the most unusual system-wide airfare sales we have tracked in past 5 years.

The 2 day sale starts today and touches nearly all the combinations of their 68 city route map for travel departing this fall (9-Sep thru 18-Nov).

The sale pricing scheme is “back to the future,” pure simplicity -- based on one-way distance in miles at three different price levels:

---$30 one-way for all routes up to 400 miles (e.g. Seattle to Boise 398 miles)

---$60 one-way for all routes between 400 and 750 miles (e.g. Philadelphia to Jacksonville 742 miles)

---$90 one-way for all routes more than 750 miles (e.g. Las Vegas to Providence 2357 miles)

A review of the airfare filing shows the following number of routes (city pairs) at the different price levels:

---166 routes (city pairs) at $30 one-way

---481 routes (city pairs) at $60 one-way

---1,385 routes (city pairs) at $90 one-way

In the past several weeks we have seen system-wide domestic airfare sales almost completely dry up, after almost 6 months of continuous discounting by all the domestic U.S. airlines. That dry spell ends today as, along with Southwest, low-cost airlines AirTran and Frontier both filed summer/fall sales.

Later today we should see significant airfare matching activity (even for the modest 2-day purchase period on the Southwest sale) as legacy airlines will not want to be undercut.

Summer domestic prices, which are not included in the Southwest sale are tracking well below last summer’s highs when oil crested at over $145 a barrel.

This sale kicks off the historically slow fall air travel season a bit earlier than usual – even after recent announcements of more seat cutbacks by several airlines and is one indication that while airline ticket prices have stabilized recently from their free fall, airlines are by no means out of the woods as oil prices remain volatile and demand precarious."


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