SOUTHWEST EXTENDS PRICE WAR AT BWI Airline continues cut-rate fares


Firing another salvo in the continuing Baltimore air fare war, Southwest Airlines announced yesterday that it would extend for another three weeks fare cuts that offer customers $48 round-trip flights to Cleveland, and $198 trips to Las Vegas and back.

The Dallas-based airline, which helped set off a price war last month by offering price cuts on flights from Baltimore Washington International Airport to 27 cities, said that it would extend the cuts through Nov. 15.

"Our purpose is for Southwest to establish itself as the low-fare airline. We want to clear up the clutter of fares and fare wars," said company spokeswoman Linda Rutherford.

The move followed a week of fare cut announcements from competing airlines.

Northwest Airlines Corp. had announced that it would trim as much as 40 percent off the price of tickets purchased through Friday for travel in the continental United States, Alaska and Canada. American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Trans World Airlines and USAir Group had followed with similar fare cuts.

On Sept. 28, Southwest announced that it would offer price cuts of up to 50 percent on some seats on its flights from BWI, but it said the sale would end Oct. 21.

Last night, Ms. Rutherford said the carrier was extending the sale for another three weeks and would "accommodate" anyone who bought tickets between Oct. 21 and today who didn't get chance to take advantage of the reduced prices.

The lower fares, which will not be available on some popular and holiday flights, will be offered only to people who buy their tickets at least one day in advance and within a day of making their reservations.

The tickets, which are nonrefundable, must be used for travel by March 2. Southwest said that it will credit unused tickets for future travel.

After Nov. 15, Southwest's lowest fares will be for tickets purchased at least 21 days in advance, Ms. Rutherford said.

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