By Mike Grasso
Last night, American and United Airlines dropped airfare between San Francisco and Orange County/John Wayne Airport. Both carriers now charge just $139 roundtrip "all in" (including taxes and fees), for travel between April 30 and June 10, 2009. Historically fares on this route averaged over $200 because United and American had a stronghold on this market, as the sole airlines operating flights between the two cities.
Why the sudden drop in fares? 10 new daily flights down to Orange County.
Come April 30th, Virgin America will intensify competition by operating five daily flights between SFO and Orange County. Then, Southwest starts service between the two cities on May 9th, also operating five times each day. Passenger capacity (available seats) on the ten new daily departures will increase significantly as well since both Virgin America and Southwest operate mainline aircraft which carry at least 120 passengers on each flight.
To compare, American flies smaller 44-seat regional jets and United uses a mixture of mainline and regional aircraft between the two cities. The total number of available seats will climb sharply just in time for the Summer, and with demand for air travel easing, airlines have no choice but to cut airfares.
So now is a great time to start planning that family vacation to Sunny Southern California and Disneyland. Click any of the travel search engines on the left column to begin your airfare search.