Fact Check

Free Air Travel Sept 11 2002

Are airlines offering free air travel on 11 September 2002?

Published Sep 1, 2002

Claim:   Airlines are offering free air travel on 11 September 2002.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2002]

All US airlines will offer free travel on Sept. 11, 2002.

All airlines are selling tickets for 9/11/02 for a dollar. Spirit Airlines is giving out flights for free to promote air
travel on the day.

Origins:   When wishful thinking and a


dollop of truth collide, great rumors are created. A September 11 limited giveaway by
one airline has sparked a false whisper that all airlines are offering free air travel on the one-year anniversary of America's greatest air disaster.

On 7 August 2002, Spirit Air offered 13,400 free seats on 90 flights to all of its 14 destinations on September 11. The "Freedom to Fly" flights sold out in eight hours. The airline received about 340,000 phone calls and more than one million Internet requests for the free tickets, which were snapped up almost as soon as the offer appeared. Customers who already paid for tickets were issued credit for future flights.

Spirit's act is not industry-wide, however; no other airlines are offering free travel on that day. (National Airlines came closest with its "Salute to Heroes" promotion, which offered $1 one-way fares on all National flights departing on 11 September 2002.) Because bookings have been soft for the 11th, American and United, the nation's two biggest carriers, have said they are cutting back their September 11 flight schedules. No. 3 Delta is trimming flights for the entire work week of September 9-13. Several European airlines also have canceled flights to the United States on September 11.

Barbara "travel advisory" Mikkelson

Last updated:   8 March 2008


  Sources Sources:

    Green, Amanda.   "Travelers Are Still Taking Flight Sept. 11."

    [Wilmington] Morning Star.   29 August 2002   (pp. D1, D3).

    The Associated Press.   "Spirit Airlines Announced Tuesday That All of Its Flights on Sept. 11 Will Be Free."

    7 August 2002.

    The Associated Press.   "Spirit Airlines' Sept. 11 Free Flight Offer Closes in Eight Hours."

    7 August 2002.

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