Usair's Frighteningloss Of Altitude

When D. Scott Mitchell began mapping out a trip to visit friends in Washington, D.C., the 42-year-old Buffalo (N.Y.) executive was debating whether to fly via USAir--his regular airline--or make the eight-hour trip by car. Then an ad for Continental Airlines Inc.'s new low-fare service caught Mitchell's eye, and he quickly snapped up round-trip tickets for himself and his wife for $157 each. Mitchell admits he didn't bother checking fares at USAir. "I didn't think they could come anywhere near," he says. The rub for USAir Group Inc.: the Arlington (Va.) carrier had a $125 fare at the time, 20% less than Continental's.

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