Winter travelers may start the new year with lower air fares, as several airlines announced cuts in the cost of flying for the first months of 1990.
But the two principal air shuttle services in the Northeast, which cater mostly to business passengers, are raising their fares for the first time since August 1988.Chicago-based United Airlines, the nation's second-largest carrier, followed the lead of cross-town rival Midway Airlines and said Wednesday it would lower some fares as much as 30 percent.
"We have matched them in most markets," United spokesman Joe Hopkins said.
Northwest Airlines and Trans World Airlines followed suit late Wednesday, announcing they were matching the fare cuts.
But Trump Shuttle told travel agents Wednesday it was raising fares from $99 one way to $119 on weekdays and from $69 to $79 on weekends, agents said. Trump Shuttle officials couldn't be reached for confirmation.
Pan Am Corp. spokeswoman Pamela Hanlon said that company's shuttle service, which competes with Trump's, was matching the increase, effective Jan. 3.
The hourly shuttle flights link New York with Boston and Washington. Billionaire developer Donald Trump bought his service from Eastern Airlines for $365 million in early June.
United's fare reductions are effective immediately and require a 14-day advance purchase and a Saturday night stay, said Rob Doughty, another spokesman for the airline.
The new United fares are based on mileage. Round-trip fares for flights of up to 1,000 miles are $198 for peak times and $178 for off-peak times. Peak times are Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays; off-peak fares apply other days.
For flights from 1,001 to 2,000 miles, fares will be $258 peak and $238 off-peak, the airline said in a news release. Flights of more than 2,000 miles will cost $318 peak and $278 off-peak.
United's action spread the fare-cutting that began last week when Southwest Airlines reduced prices on its longer routes, a move other carriers followed on a limited basis.
Midway, which has its main hub at Chicago's Midway Airport, announced one-way fares ranging from $19 to $99 across its 50-city route system within the continental United States.
Midway cut its Chicago-Los Angeles round-trip fare from $318 to $198, and its Chicago-Washington round-trip fare from $228 to $158.