Budget airline Virgin America's entrance into the U.S. market may push down earnings at rival airlines while driving down ticket prices on certain routes, such as the San Francisco-to-Washington, D.C., route. JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines, both low-cost carriers, are also participating in the war by adding capacity and cutting fares. "It's pretty apparent that the airlines are worried," said Rick Seaney, chief executive FareCompare.com.

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