Airline Prices Slashed to Jump Start New Year

A bad 2008 for the airline industry is making for a good 2009 -- for travelers.

US Airways and Southwest Airlines started cutting prices on tickets, trying to lure passengers back to the friendly skies.

"Dallas to London; they announced you can get it for $187 round-trip, plus taxes," said Michael Rickman, a travel consultant at Strong Travel Services in Dallas.

Rickman said companies are trying to boost sales early because most carriers experienced fourth-quarter losses.

"Everyone is feeling the crunch," he said. "So they tell us, 'Whatever you see in the system, ignore it. Call us.'"

Rickman said travelers should check airline Web sites and also shop around on discount sites.

He said consumers should always read the fine print to make sure the deals fit with their travel plans. Some may require the tickets to be purchased by or used by a certain date.

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