The network airlines may be ready to lunge for one more round of fare sales today, says Rick Seaney at Farecompare.com.
Right now, airlines are trying to calculate how many more seats they need to cut from overall capacity by late fall. They've had a bit of a respite from rising oil prices in recent weeks -- and a chance to soberly assess what the future might look like. There is no sign that business travel is rebounding -- as I have often said, business travelers are now behaving more than ever like leisure travelers, making it very difficult to even identify them in the market demographics.
Here's Rick Seaney's note from this morning, which starts with a round of fare sales announced last night by Southwest and AirTran:
"Last night both Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways initiated another round of airfare sales on the heels last week’s short lived and well received 2 and 3 day sales (respectively).
The Southwest sale this time includes late August and Labor Day travel but does not include Thanksgiving holiday departures (18-Aug thru 18-Nov).
These sales look more like typical historical late summer/fall discounting as they apply to travel on the slowest off-peak travel days Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and also have a much longer purchase window extending to the end of July.
Legacy airlines will most likely match by early afternoon giving procrastinating consumers another bite at the apple at summer travel in the sub $100 one-way price point.
The past month has shown some signs of a turning point for domestic airlines who have watched oil prices slide back down the past few weeks, seen heavy demand for last week’s fall sales, put through a couple of airfare hikes and continue to reduce seat capacity.
On the downside it appears that airlines continue to fill their planes with a bigger mixture of leisure travelers as businesses continue to struggle with the economy - keeping their air travel budgets trimmed to the bone and high paying business travelers on the bench."