Southwest Airlines, which will launch service from Logan starting Aug. 16, announced
a big 48-hour sale, with one-way fares going for as low as $30, $60, or $90 based on length of travel.
The move bucks a recent industry trend, which saw the major airlines raising ticket prices over the past couple of weeks as the beleaguered carriers once again find themselves facing volatile fuel prices.
The terms of the Southwest sale go like this: For flights up to 400 miles, you could pay as little as $30; 400-750 miles $60; and more than 750 miles $90. These fares don't include taxes and fees, and you must purchase before July 9 for travel from Sept. 9 through Nov. 18. Also you can't travel on Fridays or Sundays.
The complaints with this kind of deal tend to focus on the fact that sale fares tend to be in rather short supply. But here in Greater Boston we have an advantage because Southwest doesn't begin flying till next month, so, for the most part, there's no shortage of seats available for the fall.
I plugged in a few September and October dates for flights to the Midwest and California and found a number of openings at sale prices.
This sale could also kick off a smallish price war on competing routes, according to one airline analyst who was quoted in a Reuters story.
"While airline ticket prices have stabilized recently from their free fall, airlines are by no means out of the woods as oil prices remain volatile and demand precarious," said Rick Seaney, chief executive of FareCompare.com, in an e-mail this morning. "Later today we should see significant airfare matching activity (even for the modest 2-day purchase period on the Southwest sale) as legacy airlines will not want to be undercut."