Business: Help for Full Fares

Airlines try to end discontent over discounts

During the mad, magnificent peak travel season of '78, commercial flying finally became a mass transit business. Drawn by all the bargain fares, hordes of vacationers—retired couples, hirsute backpackers, whole families loaded down with bikes, fold-up baby strollers and other paraphernalia —swarmed into the nation's airports and almost overnight cured the airlines' lingering problem of too many empty seats. While it was a boon to the industry, whose planes have been setting records in passenger loadings (63% of capacity) and earnings (expected to be about $1 billion this year), the summer of the discounts was...

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