Air fares topple as carriers scramble to fill seats

After a long winter of declining ticket sales, US airlines have cut fares for younger travelers in the hopes of filling the empty seats. And some prices may also be coming down for adult tickets, as well.

American, United, and TWA are some of the airlines offering special cut rates.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) chairman Marvin Cohens supports the new lower fares, he says, because "the airlines couldn't maintain the high-priced fare strategies" of the past fall and winter.

"This isn't a simple 'charge more, you maker more' business," he says. "Higher fares don't help you if your planes are empty."

Says David Frailey, vice-president at American, "If the lower fares generate new business, we may gain; but American is inclined to doubt that will happen."

CAB chairman Cohens says the flood of price changes and promotions is necessary "because the airlines are still learning to price in a marketplace" after decades of federal regulations.

"In the past the CAB set the price. Now the airlines set their own. They have to try a lot of different things to learn. One thing we can expect is a great deal of diversity . I think its quite healthy."

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