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A price war has broken out in the air corridor between Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, and passengers willing to plan three weeks ahead can fly for as little as $58 round trip. The most expensive full fare is $186 each way.

United, USAir, Delta, American and Alaska Airlines, all of which operate frequent flights between Northern and Southern California, have been offering the $58 fare since the beginning of July.To get it, customers must buy tickets 21 days in advance, travel any day but Friday and Sunday and stay over one Friday night. The number of $58 seats on any flight is limited, and the cost of the tickets generally cannot be refunded.

Southwest Airlines sparked the $58 fare battle when it introduced flights between Oakland and Burbank or Ontario in Southern California.

USAir followed suit with hourly flights between San Francisco and Burbank, then added hourly service between San Francisco and Los Angeles International Airport. United, which has the most flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco, proceeded to match USAir's $58 price.