By Joe Brancatelli
US Airways has been the only nonstop operator between Boston/Logan and its Phoenix hub. And it has charged business travelers accordingly. A one-way flight tomorrow is $613 (nonrefundable) or an astonishing $1,177 on a refundable basis. But that monopoly comes to an end in September. Southwest Airlines, which already operates a Phoenix hub and is growing in Boston, will launch a daily Logan-Phoenix flight. And JetBlue Airways, the biggest player at Logan, will also add a Boston-Phoenix flight in September. JetBlue’s opening rate was $99 one-way. It is currently selling nonrefundable fares for $129 one-way.
Speaking of war, it’s Frontier Airlines, which now includes Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines, versus AirTran Airways, which once tried to buy Midwest. Frontier has severed its frequent flyer program link with AirTran and AirTran has responded by offering 32 credits in its A+ Rewards program to any Midwest customer who donates 50,000 miles to charities associated with the Midwest Miles program. The 32 credits are good for one business-class roundtrip wherever AirTran flies.
And while Frontier and Midwest are merging their fleets and schedules, AirTran is bulking up. It is adding flights from Milwaukee to Washington/National and Boston and introducing two new routes (Milwaukee-New Orleans and Milwaukee-Sarasota, Florida). Just for a final tweak, AirTran has painted one of its planes with the logo of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.