To be sure, Virgin America is a low cost airline – it’s a nifty startup with new (read: cost efficient) employees and sweet leases on Airbus planes and a very interesting in-flight experience that Dallas fliers haven’t probably seen.

But those fares. Definitely “low” on the introductory side, no doubts there. But what about after the introductory period when airlines look to make a splash and get some market share?

You can fly AA out of D/FW to San Francisco nonstop next month (slow season for carriers, mid-September) for $360 a month out leaving on a Thursday (lower peak, usually a pretty good pricing day for fliers) and coming back on a Monday. Could this be cheaper? It’s hard to say – fares have gone up a lot in the past year and American is essentially pricing its non-stop product against a host of one-stop connections offered by everybody else. United has its non-stop from DFW to SFO (that’s its hub on the SF end) – priced the same as American’s in terms of base fare.

Travelocity says you can do a one-stop on that September itinerary for $240 or so on a host of airlines. The premium for the non-stop is $120 or so at this point. I don’t price the route that often so it’s hard for me to say if DFW to SFO round trip in September is a scalping or just the usual.

Virgin American isn’t starting the flights until December – just pricing a bit on its website, I get $280 all-in for a Thursday departure with a Monday return (AA is going to swiftly match that) for mid-December.

That’s nice savings right off the bat. How long will that stick? I just priced a SFO to New York itinerary – Thursday to Monday — on Virgin America, which is a very hotly contested route that V.A. has been working for a bit. I get more than $400 roundtrip. That’s not a bad fare necessarily. But is it a “low” fare on a route where Virgin America is now established? What’s a “low fare” anyway these day when Southwest, AirTran and Frontier are setting the pricing on so many domestic routes? (you tell me)

Virgin America’s in-flight product – lots of fun bells and whistles – is designed to be such a fun experience that it develops brand loyalty at pretty much any price. I’m curious to see its pricing structure at D/FW as its service evolves.

What will really benefit fliers in the market is the matching, and we’ll see how long AA’s teeth are if they choose to match only the nearest frequencies for the V.A. flights or if they open up all their inventory buckets on all their SFO flights and LAX flights from D/FW and basically train its 40-inch pricing guns on Virgin America and David Cush (former AA exec) for a little “welcome to D/FW” salute. United’s going to have to mimic the same pricing structure no matter what, so passengers get the advantage of cheap seats on Virgin America plus all the matched cheap seats on American and United, and then perhaps a subsequent deal on connecting itineraries as the gap between nonstop and connecting traffic narrows. That’s the beauty of low-fare pricing: the matching. The question is for Virgin is: Both how low and how long will you go?

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