USAir reverses stance on coupons, cuts fares


ARLINGTON, Va. -- The airline industry's latest fare war took a new twist yesterday as USAir reversed an earlier stand of accepting discount coupons from other carriers and instead cut excursion fares by up to $50 in select markets.

USAir said it would cut tickets costing between $150 and $249 by $35, with a $50 reduction on fares of $250 or more. The non-refundable tickets are good for travel through Dec. 14 but must be bought by Sept. 4. A Saturday stay-over is required.

USAir, owned by USAir Group Inc. in Arlington, Va., is the major carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, with more than 60 percent of the market.

The reductions and conditions are similar to those offered under discount coupon offers from other carriers. Northwest Airlines began the coupon parade in advertisements over the weekend. United, Continental and America West Airlines published similar ads yesterday.

American Airlines said it would accept the Northwest coupons and is studying the other offers. United, America West and Continental said they would accept any of the coupons offered, while Northwest said it is studying the matter.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said it would accept the coupons not only for newly issued tickets but also for tickets already held by passengers, minus a $25 charge. That would mean a $10 savings on the $35 coupon, and a $25 savings with the $50 coupon.

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