Now, it won't pay to drive to D.C. to fly to New York

January 07, 1993|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Staff Writer

Maybe there's something to this Washington-Baltimore stuff after all.

Before the federal government decided to make the two cities one metropolitan area, it cost far more to fly on USAir to New York or Newark from Baltimore than from Washington -- even though Baltimore is closer to those cities.

Now it's going to cost the same, or even less, from Baltimore.

Arlington, Va.-based USAir, the largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, announced yesterday that it would sharply reduce fares between BWI and New York's La Guardia Airport and Newark International Airport.

Effective yesterday, the 14-day round-trip excursion fare became $98 from BWI to La Guardia and Newark, nearly 50 percent less than the old fares of $190 and $180, respectively. The seven-day round-trip excursion fare is now $138 to both cities, compared with the previous fares of $230 to La Guardia and $220 to Newark.

The one-way unrestricted coach fare -- used predominantly by business travelers -- has been reduced to $147, from $240, for flights from BWI to La Guardia and to $147, from $300, between BWI and Newark.

The new one-way unrestricted fare is now the same as that offered from Washington National Airport. But the excursion fare from BWI will be even cheaper.

USAir officials said they hoped the new fares would make the airline more competitive with Amtrak's Metroliner service. The round-trip fare for that 2 1/2 -hour journey is $185. But USAir said it was reducing the fares also to give Baltimore travelers the same price break enjoyed by Washington passengers.

"We were seeing passengers drive from Baltimore to National Airport just to take advantage of the shuttle savings," said Susan Young, a spokeswoman for USAir.

USAir has operated its hourly shuttle from Washington to New York since April. It also operates about a half-dozen flights a day from BWI to both La Guardia and Newark. Typically, airline fares are based on mileage, although the shuttle service operates under different guidelines, Ms. Young said.

USAir expects no other immediate fare changes at BWI, she said.

"In most cases, the Baltimore fares are based on mileage and are already comparable and in some cases even lower" than the Washington fares, Ms. Young said.

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