Virgin America joins airline fare sale stampede

AP News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2010 12:21 PM

Virgin America said Tuesday it was offering reduced fares on some seats for travel through mid-June, joining a growing number of airlines that are touting discounts to lure customers now that the holiday season is over.

At the same time, a few big carriers have been trying to raise fares.

Virgin America said Tuesday it was offering some lower fares on three-day advance purchase tickets bought by next Monday for travel though June 20.

Among the prices were $39 each way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and $109 between New York and Los Angeles. The airline didn't say how many seats per flight it would sell at those prices.

Already this week there have been fare sales announced by Southwest, JetBlue and Frontier. Late winter is typically a slow travel period, and airlines are worried that with the economic slowdown they will sell even fewer seats.

Airlines have been cutting flights to prop up prices and avoid widespread discounting.

Over the New Year's holiday, United added up to $10 per round trip to its U.S. tickets, according to price-tracking Web site FareCompare.com. Other big airlines matched United's increase, although discounters Southwest, JetBlue, and AirTran did not, according to FareCompare.