09 OCT 2013: Southwest Airlines launched a fare sale on Tuesday for travel this winter, and rival airlines began matching the prices on many routes. Southwest said it was offering round trips starting at $98 for flights under 500 miles each way, with longer round trips costing up to $298.

It said that the prices were good until midnight Thursday night and also applied to its AirTran Airways subsidiary.

The company said that sale prices applied to a limited number of seats, covered only nonstop flights, weren't available on Fridays or Sundays, and carried other restrictions. The offer covered travel between Dec. 4 and Dec. 18, and again between Jan. 7 and Feb. 12.

By Tuesday afternoon, United, Delta, American and US Airways began offering similar prices and restrictions on most domestic routes that they share with Southwest, according to fare-tracking website FareCompare.com.

Travelocity.com said Tuesday that the average domestic airfare for Thanksgiving travel was $415 including taxes, an increase of 7 percent from last year. Travelocity said many popular routes were cheaper than $415, however. It advised travellers to book flights before Nov. 10, when it expects fares to start rising sharply.

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