Southwest tries online ticketing

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Southwest airlines last week became the first national carrier to start selling seats from its Web site.

Visitors to Southwest's "home gate" can choose a destination, fare and travel time and pay by credit card. Users can travel ticketless or have a receipt mailed or faxed to them.

"This will be a learning curve," said Southwest VP-Marketing Dave Ridley. "People aren't going to rush to it overnight. We're not projecting big cost savings or revenue increases. This is just a typical Southwest ready-fire-aim approach."

ADS TO PROMOTE SITE

Southwest expects to launch ads promoting the site within three months, Mr. Ridley said.

Travelocity, a general travel site that opened in March from Sabre Interactive and Worldview Systems Corp., offers ticketing for a variety of airlines.

The only other carriers to sell tickets on their own sites are the regional Alaska Airlines, which launched a similar service in December 1995, and British Midland Airways in the U.K.

United Airlines offers a private reservation service, accessed via CompuServe or separate software.

Copyright May 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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