Tag: Fare WarsView All Tags
Do you know what you're doing in June? We don't either because we enjoy the thrill of last-minute jetting, but if Southwest Airlines' massive fare sale has anything to say about it, we may end up baking under the early summer sun in Florida.
Having just launched one of their biggest airfare sales ever this morning, Southwest is aiming for full flights and happy passengers through early summer with their one-way deals. According to the Star-Telegram, this blowout is unprecedented for the airline as it coveres nationwide destinations, continues through the peak travel period of June, and it is the airline's "first sale of the year to include cities in Florida, which suggests that leisure travel to beach destinations is slipping."
It's also noteworthy that this is Southwest's fifth fare sale so far this year, and February hasn't even finished. In time like these, however, too many sales are still never enough and so if this deal doesn't get the masses booking, then at least it will have many supercharging their trip plans for late summer; the "staycation" needs to die.
· Southwest's Nationwide Sale [Official Site]
· Southwest Launches Fare Sale, Includes Florida, Early Summer [Star-Telegram]
· Airfare Sales Coverage [Jaunted]
Well, somebody had to be the first. Scrappy Southwest Airlines triggered a massive air fare war on Friday by announcing super-cheap seats to almost everywhere it flies for travel before March 11, 2009. As the AP points out, its competitors swiftly followed suit, with American, Continental, JetBlue, and Delta slashing their own prices to match Southwest's fares, which start at $49 to $99 each way. Even U.S. Airways, the company that literally walks on water, jumped into the bargain bin. (So much for the Sullenberger Bump.) We reckon that the airline executives who lowered their prices did so reluctantly, and are probably a little miffed at Southwest for forcing their hands. Nonetheless, with both business and leisure travel declining along with the economy, it'll take some serious savings to keep people flying through the recession. Maybe this will work. Of course, pain for the airlines equals opportunities for everyone else, so we're definitely going to scan the schedules to see if we can afford to fly someplace warm for a little late-winter attitude adjustment.
V Australia doesn't make its inaugural flight to the United States until December, but that won't be enough, it seems. The long-haul carrier has applied with the Australian government to fly the Sydney-Johannesburg route, starting October 2009.
The flights, currently only available on Qantas or South African Airways, would be the first foray into Africa for the start-up. It spilled its plans in a governmental filing:
V Australia proposes to commence services between Sydney and Johannesburg with five weekly services with effect from October 2009. V Australia will operate these services utilizing 361 seat B777-300ER aircraft.
So how much is jet fuel gonna cost by fall 2009?
We're still months away from V Australia's inaugural flight, but that won't stop the big V from shaking things up. Richard Branson's latest carrier apparently isn't scared of a little healthy competition.
While we were enjoying Independence Day, V Australia was announcing new routes. Brisbane to Los Angeles will start on March 1, 2009 and will operate three days a week. Seats in the back of the plane will start at A$2,087 ($2,006)--about a cool A$1,000 less than the price of the same trip on Qantas.
Even the comfy business class seats are going for less than the country's oldest carrier. But hey, when you're facing high fuel costs you got to do what you got to do, even if you aren't rockin' the new A380.
· Pacific Airfare Wars Hit Top Gear [Melbourne Herald Sun]
· Qantas Hyping Super-Cheap Transpacific Fares on A380s [Jaunted]
· V Australia coverage [Jaunted]
Qantas / V Australia / Australia Travel / A380 / Airfare Deals / Airfare Sales / Fare Wars / → All Tags
Qantas doesn't plan to let V Australia steal away its customers when Richard Branson's newest airline takes flight December 15. So the old-line Aussie carrier is hyping some great fares on its A380 flights between LA and both Melbourne and Sydney.
Qantas says it's selling tickets for as little as $380 round-trip on flights departing between November 2 and December 8. But as far as we can tell, those super-cheap tickets are already gone.
We did find an LAX-Melbourne round trip in November for $1,215. Not less than 400 bucks, but that's certainly not bad! If you're willing to spend a bit more, A380 service between the US and Oz starts on October 20.
Buses / Fare Wars / BoltBus / Megabus / NeOn / Greyhound / Budget Travel / → All Tags
You know about Megabus. You know about BoltBus. But now Greyhound wants a piece of the $1 promo fare action, too. And not content to just offer short hops for a buck, the bus company is selling tickets between Toronto and New York for as little as $1 each way. Crazy.
We know what you're thinking: I wouldn't spend nine minutes on a Greyhound bus, let alone nine hours. But these special NeOn coaches will be tricked out with video entertainment, power plugs and free WiFi. One would hope the bus bathrooms will be working, too.
Obviously, this is a promotional price, though from May 22-25 every seat is going for $1. If you book in a hurry, you'll still be able to lock in fares as low as a buck for departures later this summer.
Last week we asked, "Is V Australia about to officially announce LAX-SYD service at a press conference?" Turns out, yes. The newest carrier from Richard Branson will go wheels up on December 15, 2008.
The super-cheap promo fares for the first few days are already sold out, but you can still get some incredible deals in December. We found a round trip for $1,747, while Kayak reports the cheapest non-stop Qantas fare for the same dates is $2,582.
In addition to great fares, V Australia has also released cabin details. In coach, seat pitch is 32 inches with a recline of 6 inches, and every seat will have a 9-inch screen for on-demand in-flight entertainment. And if you need or want to stay online, the airline's 777s will have cell phone connectivity, letting you SMS and browse the Internet on your GSM device. What, no in-flight WiFi?
· Virgin Launches Flights between Sydney and Los Angeles [AP, via IHT]
· V Australia Cabin Details [Official Site]
· Calculated Speculation: V Australia Edition [Jaunted]
· V Australia coverage [Jaunted]
BoltBus / Megabus / Buses / Budget Travel / Fare Wars / → All Tags
Earlier this month, Boltbus announced its WiFi-enabled bus service from DC to NYC to Boston, promising fares as low as a dollar. But since there are so many cheapskates and college kids in all three of those cities, Megabus wants a piece of that action, too.
The primarily Midwestern bus line will fire up service between Boston and New York sometime before June. Like its competitor's, Megabus tickets start at $1 and escalate in price as your departure date approaches--and as seats sell out.
Of course, the one thing Megabus won't offer is plugs at every seat and wireless Internet. Still, you gotta love fare wars that'll have you getting four-hour rides for a single.
[Photo: Sung Sook]
Fare Wars / Virgin America / Airlines / LAX / → All Tags
You probably won't hear other airlines admit it, but Virgin America is driving down fares out of LAX. Since Branson's baby cracked the airport in August 2007, Southwest, United and Alaska Airlines have all lowered fares and added frequencies to compete. JetBlue is even trying to replicate VA's success by starting up JFK-LAX service on May 21.
Locals, obviously, are loving it:
"It's been awesome," said Brandon Brown, a San Francisco State University student whose family lives in Westchester and was flying down from San Francisco on a Virgin America flight. "Sometimes it's now cheaper for me to fly than drive."
And it looks like fares will stay low. Virgin America is only going to expand service at the airport, as it works up to as many as 30 more cities in the coming years.
Cheaper is good. Now if only LAX could get nicer. Have you seen the bathrooms in the Southwest terminal?
V Australia / Airlines / New Routes / Fare Wars / → All Tags
At least 10 airline start-ups are coming to Asia and the Pacific this year, including a few low-cost carriers. The geeks at the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) say that the new carriers and routes stem from an influx of foreign travelers to the regions, and the potential Australia-United States open skies agreement has to be helping. That has us psyched: More choices and new hubs mean more competitive pricing.
So what new airlines are we waiting for? There will be at least five joint-venture airlines (such as Indonesia's Lion Air and Australia's SkyAirWorld) and low-cost carriers adding international routes (like a subsidiary from ANA). Start-ups include Virgin's V Australia and New Zealand's Kiwijet. Some of the new airlines and routes include larger capacity planes; no one will be flying any 787s anytime soon.
According to The Australian, CAPA says:
The next few weeks will provide a much cleared picture of [what's next]. Meanwhile, airline managements are growing increasingly nervous.
Nervous? We're elated.
When go! buzzed into the islands with rock-bottom fares, inter-island dogfights kept prices low to the delight of locals and tourists alike. Fares have fallen from an average of nearly $200 round trip to $50-$80 round trip as the cozy duopoly of Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines has given way to a ménage à capitalism.
Before starting operations, go!'s parent company, Mesa Air, considered buying both Hawaiian and Aloha out of bankruptcy, going so far as to examine confidential business documents from the carriers. When Mesa decided to go its own way and launch an all-new airline, Hawaiian got mega-miffed and sued. The court case ended with a judge awarding Hawaiian $80 million in damages.
It's such a hit that go! might be forced to shut down. The big loser in all this? Clearly travelers, as you can expect fares to skyrocket once go! flies off. The next stop for the case is US District Court for an appeal.
Just as we were turning our attention to the fare war in the Bay Area, London Heathrow is set to see some fierce competition that could lower airfares. Long protected from trans-Atlantic competition, routes between LHR and the U.S. will be up for grabs starting in March.
And according to the London Times, things will be heating up:
Delta is likely to serve New York, Atlanta and one other American city, with Air France studying a Los Angeles service.
At this point, the airlines haven't officially announced these routes, but if Delta and Air France get going, you can bet Continental and Northwest will want to fire up service through their own hubs, too.
What remains to be seen is if passengers actually prefer Heathrow. While a new terminal sounds like a pleasure, it's for British Airways flights, not American carriers. And plenty of discount carriers fly to London's other, less congested airports. If people aren't clamoring for tickets on the new routes, you can be sure fares to LHR won't fall.