Airfare Sale: Southwest and AirTran Try to Boost Travel

Southwest Airlines announced an airfare sale last month in an effort to raise the number of people travelling during late summer and fall, The Consumerist reports. Southwest’s subsidiary, AirTran, will also offer discounted rates.

Many feared such sales would not take place after the Federal Aviation Administration returned millions of tax dollars to federal coffers last week, the Consumerist said. Now, however, Southwest and AirTran have led the charge to roll back prices to where they were before the FAA lost its authority to collect taxes. Most insiders predict that all major airlines will have scaled back their prices within the next few days.

The decision to roll back airfare prices, despite lower per-ticket revenue for the airline, came after low seasonal demand for air travel made current prices unsustainable. According to the Consumerist, “it was just a matter of seeing which would cave first.”

The news organization explains that while the FAA did not collect taxes on airfare, many airlines upped their prices in order to make up the difference. This had no noticeable effect on the consumer, but it did allow airlines to pocket more money per ticket—about $28 million per day. Now that taxes are back into effect, airlines face a choice of either lowering prices or seeing an across-the-board fare hike of about 10 percent for customers.

Southwest’s sale affects travel from August 23 through December 14, but excludes travel on Fridays and Sundays. AirTran offers discounted rates now through November 16, with the lowest prices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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