Southwest Airlines launched a major ticket sale on the same day it reported a decline in passenger traffic.
Southwest reported a 2.1 percent decrease in the number of people flying in June compared to June 2008.
The Dallas airline announced Tuesday it would allow customers to buy one way tickets for as low as $30, $60 and $90, based on the travel destination.
Other carriers rushed to match the fares later Tuesday.
"Southwest Airlines realizes customers are looking for great travel deals during this difficult economic time," Kevin Krone, vice president of marketing, sales and distribution told theDallas Business Journal. "We wanted to provide customers affordable airfare so they can punch this economy in the nose and travel for business or leisure this fall."
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
The special fares are available until 11:59 p.m. on July 8 and the flights must be booked for travel from September 9 to November 18.
Farecompare.com reports the sale pricing is 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)
Analysts say demand for air travel continues to slide. By fall, airlines may be forced to cut more flights, sending ticket prices higher. But until then, carriers are trying to cut prices in hopes of spurring demand.