updated 4/2/2009 2:30:00 PM ET 2009-04-02T18:30:00

For $14, less than many Manhattan cab rides, a few travelers were able to snag seats Thursday on JetBlue Airways flights between New York and San Francisco.

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The airline said it sold out the 200 seats in a few hours but that some of the 1,600 seats on flights between San Francisco and Long Beach, Calif., remained available at midday at the same price.

The $14-each-way offer was limited to travel completed by April 8.

Bryan Baldwin, a spokesman for New York-based JetBlue, said the promotion was designed to draw attention to JetBlue's lack of fees on a first checked bag. Many airlines charge $15 to check a single bag.

Baldwin declined to say how much JetBlue lost on the promotion — the $14 fare wouldn't come close to covering JetBlue's average cost to fly a passenger 2,900 miles coast-to-coast, which was about $300 in the fourth quarter.

But, Baldwin said, most of the buyers probably wouldn't have taken a last-minute, cross-country trip at regular fares, so the promotion likely put people in seats that otherwise would have gone empty. He said airline officials hoped the sale would pay dividends down the road.

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