The cratering of demand, suspected now for weeks, became starkly visible Monday evening when Continental Airlines reported sobering November results.

November passenger revenue for Continental's mainline flying grew 2% to 3%, below the 4% to 6% increase the carrier had been expecting, and way below the double-digit increases in passenger revenue Continental recorded in the summer months.

Other airlines don't provide monthly revenue guidance, but Continental's new numbers show they are losing their ability to fill seats without resorting to broader and deeper fare cuts.

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