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United cuts some fares for business travelers

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CHICAGO — United Airlines on Monday announced it is cutting some fares by up to 70 percent in hopes of attracting more business travelers.

Beginning Monday, coach fares with no advance purchase for direct flights to and from Chicago and Denver as well as thousands of markets around the country reached through connecting service are being cut by as much as 40 percent, the airline said.

And the fares on tickets purchased seven days in advance for the same flights are being cut as much as 70 percent, according to United spokesman Joe Hopkins.

Hopkins said the airline hopes the reduced fares on flights where there is no requirement to stay Saturday night will attract business travelers.

"The key message for us is this is something we feel business travelers have been asking for," he said.

Hopkins said between the direct and connecting flights, about 12,500 markets around the country will be affected by the fare reductions.

Meanwhile, United, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, also announced that beginning Tuesday it is scaling back food service on many domestic flights. For example, meals are being eliminated for first- and business-class passengers on flights of two to three hours in the United States and Canada outside the normal meal hours.

The move comes as America West Airlines starts an experiment in which it is selling meals on board for $3 to $10. Other airlines also are considering charging for food on flights, although United said last week it had no plans to do so.