The US airline industry has turned to price incentives and loyalty promotions to boost the alarming decline in air travel since the terrorist attacks of September 11.

The pace was set by United Airlines which offered half-price on business fares purchased twenty-one days in advance of travel, plus a 25% discount tickets bought ten days ahead. The deal was promptly matched by a number of rivals including American Airlines, Continental Airlines and US Airways.

American also raised the stakes with its offer of double frequent-flier points until November 15, while Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines stood-by their existing offers, respectively fifty percent-off all full price fares booked fourteen days in advance, and a ‘Delta Loves New York’ promotion with 10,000 complimentary tickets to visit New York given away during in the next six months in a bid to promote tourism to the stricken city.

Said AA’s executive vice president, marketing and planning Mike Gunn: “It's now time that we and our customers turn to getting America back to business.”

Marianne McInerney, executive director of the National Business Travel Association, agreed: “When we see a move like this, I think it's appreciated and it allows the corporate travel manager to go back to their companies and try and get people back on the road,” she said.

News source: Wall Street Journal