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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Mark Orwoll

Aired June 9, 2003 - 19:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There's something a little bit scary about the concept of a discount airline. Where would you want them to skimp exactly? But JetBlue isn't alone. AirTran will fly you from Milwaukee to Baltimore for $49. Southwest will fly you from Indianapolis to Orlando for $59 one-way.
With the slow economy, more and more discount airlines are making inroads into routes traditionally held by major airlines who cannot afford to lower their ticket prices long enough to undersell the upstarts and make them literally leave town.

So what are some of the deals out there and how can you find them? Mark Orwoll is managing editor of Travel and Leisure. He joins us.

Mark, all right. So what are the -- what route should we be looking at?

MARK ORWOLL, MANAGING EDITOR, "TRAVEL AND LEISURE": Well, of course, competition breeds discounts. What the low fare carriers are doing is they see vulnerability with the majors so they're going after the same routes that the major airlines have. In other words, the coast to coast routes. The -- from one big city to another big city. To the major tourist states like Florida, Texas, California, New York.

Those are the places where you're bound to see the competition and thus the discounts.

COOPER: All right, well, let's help people out there. What's the best way to track down the fares and also to lock them in?

ORWOLL: You have to do your homework. I know people don't want to hear that, they want an easy answer. But you go on line, go to the individual airlines' Web sites. All of them have a section that says "special deals" or "current discounts" or something -- a phrase like that.

You will find everything that they have going on at the moment. But beware, these deals that are going on now are usually the kind you have to book within two or three days, sometimes even less.

COOPER: They don't last long.

ORWOLL: They don't last long at all.

COOPER: Do you to book very far in advance?

ORWOLL: No, no. As a matter of fact, some of them won't allow you to book far in advance. You find a deal today, you have to book it by Friday for travel two weeks from now. Those are where you are going to find the very steep discounts.

COOPER: What carriers are we talking about? The JetBlue?

ORWOLL: JetBlue has gotten a lot of press lately. AirTran, Frontier, ATA, Southwest, America West, airlines, some of which we have heard about, some of which have been around for 30 years, others which are brand new.

COOPER: Right. Now how long is this low-fare climate going to last for?

ORWOLL: Well it's a real good question because I think what's going to happen is that the major airlines are taking their cue from the low cost airlines and I think they're going make the switch and bring themselves closer to the business model that the low-fare carriers have been following. That is dispense with a lot of the extras like meals, like inflight entertainment...

COOPER: Well it's already -- I mean they basically throw a bag of chips at you and that's -- you're lucky to get that.

ORWOLL: You're lucky if they don't charge you three bucks for it.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: But now do you think the big carriers are going to lower their fares or are they just going to try to eliminate some of the...

ORWOLL: Well you know, it used to be that the major carriers would undercut the low-fare carriers and force the low-fare guys off the routes. They're not in a position to do that. The major airlines are in one of the worst financial positions they've ever been in. The most they can do is meet the low fares that are being offered by the low-fare carriers.

COOPER: All right. So this is definitely a summertime thing, so you probably shouldn't be looking too far beyond that?

ORWOLL: Oh, no. I mean look at it now because you can buy tickets now for travel during the next two months.

COOPER: Right. All right. Mark Orwoll. Appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.

ORWOLL: Glad to be here.

COOPER: All right.

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