Domestic Fall Airfare Sale Season Kicks Off Today

The historically soft U.S. domestic air travel period starting with departures September just got its first jolt of stimulus with some targeted last minute Labor Day weekend sales initiated by United Airlines early Monday ( widely matched by most airlines) and Southwest firing out a fall/winter sale hours ago.

The Southwest sale includes travel through early January (the end of their current booking schedule) which is an unusually long travel window of 4 months – typically Southwest sales have had travel windows of 3 month or less. It does blackout the popular travel days of Friday and Sunday and tiptoes around peak Christmas and Thanksgiving travel.

I expect to see wide matching this evening and into early Wednesday of the Southwest sale making the next 24 hours a perfect buying window for consumers – whether looking for a quick getaway or locking in their Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.

The price of oil has been bouncing around the high $60’s to low $70’s per barrel recently which certainly has the airlines full attention as many consolidate their fall seat cuts and try to consolidate what appears to be the bottom in the demand curve that appears to have hit sometime in early June.

Ticket prices in general are up over the past 45 days but still compare favorably to last year at the same time when oil prices were still hovering $117 per barrel.

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Published: August 18, 2009