ABOARD AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 1223 — Airline fare wars are making a comeback.

Don’t expect widespread sales or cheap flights home for Thanksgiving. But a number of cities are seeing ridiculously low prices at off-peak hours – prices the industry has spent the years trying to eliminate.

Fliers have been able to fly Chicago to Boston for $80 round trip, San Francisco to Las Vegas for $67 round trip and New York to Los Angeles, with a connection, for $150 round trip.

“This is the big break consumers have been waiting for in response to lower fuel prices,” said Seth Kaplan, managing partner of industry newsletter Airline Weekly.

The price of oil is at the lowest level in 6½ years and the industry is saving billions of dollars on fuel, giving airlines leeway to cut fares but still post healthy profits. Airlines have also added larger, more efficient planes to their fleets while packing more seats into existing jets. So, while the number of domestic flights is down slightly over the past 12 months, there are now 3.4 percent more seats for sale – too many to meet the demand in all cities. To fill those extra seats, airlines have had to offer discounts.

Still, airlines are being very selective. Forget finding a deal for busy holidays or on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays when business travelers fly. The best prices are for flights on traditionally slow days like Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. And it helps if Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines or Frontier Airlines flies the route.

For instance, Frontier recently had a sale for members of its club who pay an annual $50 fee. Tickets were being offered for $15 one-way, including taxes.

American Airlines and – to a lesser extent – Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are matching some of the discount fares. By doing so, they actually undercut the ultra-low-cost carriers because Spirit and Frontier charge customers extra to use overhead baggage bins or to have a drink of water.

Average fares are still higher than they were in 2011, 2012 and 2013, even when adjusted for inflation. And the recent decline in prices is nothing compared with the 31 percent savings that airlines have seen on their fuel bills since the start of this year.

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