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Southwest launches big fare sale

 

Southwest Airlines has launched a nationwide sale offering some eye-poppingly good deals for fall and winter travel. How about SFO to Chicago  and back for just $175 all in? Oakland to Denver for just $150? Or SFO all the way to Atlanta and back for less than $200? These are just a few samples of hundreds of really good deals on offer.

 

 

BUT, there’s a catch, as always… so don’t get your hopes up for a great deal during the peak holiday travel season. The fares are only good during what I call the “dead weeks.” These are the slowest travel days of the year—Wednesday, November 28 through Wednesday, December 12, 2012, and then again from Monday, Jan. 7 through Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

 

 

These fares are excellent choices for business travelers who can schedule their meetings during these dips in demand when fares plummet.

They are also good for those who cannot afford peak holiday pricing and don’t mind postponing family visits or vacations.

They are also great options for skiers headed to the Rockies if the snow is not up to snuff in the Sierra in January.

Here are the details:

>Book your trip at southwest.com by midnight on Thursday October 11, 2012. Note that Southwest and AirTran launched this fare sale today… and you can count on other airlines matching the sale later today with similar fares on competitive routes.

>To get these deals, you must enter the discount code BigDeal40 in the Promo Code box on southwest.com or SWABIZ.com in order to receive the discount.

>Act fast. The sale is good for travel Wednesday, November 28 through Wednesday, December 12, 2012, and then again from Monday, Jan. 7 through Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 (Not good on Sundays and certain other blackout dates). The cheapest seats will sell out fast.

>Here are all the terms and conditions for Southwest.

A similar sale, but without the gimmicky discount code is also underway at Southwest subsidiary AirTran—check sale fares at www.airtran.com.

>by Chris McGinnis

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Late summer fare sales require fast action

Southwest’s California flag-themed B737-one of my favorites- at SFO. (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Several airlines have launched a pretty good fare sale for late summer trips- starting as soon as late July and lasting into fall months. However, you must act fast- the good deals are available for the next one to three days only.

For example, Virgin America is offering round trips of $156 (all in) for SFO to LA, San Diego or Las Vegas. Chicago is $378 round trip. Washington, DC and Philly are running at about $400 round trip. The popular SFO-JFK run does not seem to be included in this sale…nearly all fares, even on those awful red-eyes are in the $500 range. The sale fares are only good for travel Monday-Thursday from July 31 through September 12. If you fly on Tuesday or Weds, JetBlue will take you down to Long Beach for $130 round trip. To get these fares, you must book by this Wednesday, July 18 at midnight.

Southwest is offering a pretty good fall fare sale, but the deals don’t kick in until August 20 and are good for travel through December 14 (minus some blackout dates around holidays.) I found SFO-Atlanta for as little as $300 round trip (good on Southwest or AirTran). SFO or OAK to Chicago Midway is about $350. There are plenty of other cities on sale from the Bay Area, so just click on the link above to see them. Sale fares on Southwest or AirTran are available on all days except Sunday, and must be booked by this Friday, July 20.

United has Denver or Austin on sale for about $250 round trip (all in) during August and September. New York JFK and Chicago are in the low $400′s all in. Boston for $360 round trip is not bad for August. You can still buzz over to London (everyone I’ve talked to says that it’s as polished and ready as ever) for just $880 round trip in September or October when the crowds have gone home and the weather is at its best. How about SFO-San Juan, Puerto Rico for just $315 round trip? I’ve rarely seen fares from the Bay to the Caribbean as low as that! Midweek trips from the Bay Area to Honolulu are down as low as $450 which is not bad for mid-August. United has not published an end date for booking, but it’s likely similar to other airlines… which are running for the next 24-48 hours only.

Most other major carriers have matched these fares so shop around if you can’t find what you are looking for. Please keep in mind that I checked these fares on Tuesday morning, July 17, so they are subject to change.

It is interesting to see airlines discounting fares for travel during August- typically one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year for air travel. Clearly, demand for summer trips has not met the airlines’ expectations, which is a signal to me that consumers are becoming increasingly skittish.

What about you? Are you up for a late summer vacation? Or are you making plans for business trips this fall? Are these fares low enough to make you jump? 

 

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Summer fare sale shockers

 

American's fare "sale?"

Have you checked out the latest round of summer fare “sales?”

I’m shocked! Not because fares are so low…but because the so-called fare “sale” rates are so…sky high.

Blame it on the high cost of fuel, declining capacity or increasing demand, but these fares hurt!

If you are planning to fly this summer, you better start saving now. Or start mapping out a summer road trip, which is looking more and more appealing with the price of gasoline declining.

A few examples of roundtrips from a “fare sale” trumpeted by American Airlines today:

  • SFO>St Louis: $538
  • SFO>Houston: $512
  • SFO>Ft Lauderdale: $480
  • SFO>Los Angeles (LAX): $186

Also today Virgin America trotted out a special introductory fare on flights to its newest airport, Washington National: $400 round trip! Ouch! And that’s only if you can fly on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday after August 14th. Those flying on other days will pay about $550 round trip. United, which just started flying nonstop between SFO and Washington National this month, is currently asking for a whopping $674 round trip for travel in late June. Double ouch!

Thinking about a July trip to Hawaii? Right now, you can’t find a seat on a nonstop for less than about $728 roundtrip between SFO, Oakland or San Jose and Honolulu.

Got some business to take care of in NYC? Get ready to pay up! Even in this hypercompetitive market, the lowest fares for nonstops from SFO in mid July are now in the $400-$500 range.

Thinking about Europe but you have not bought your ticket yet? Air France will fly you round trip between SFO and Paris nonstop for a mere $1,679 in July or August. Nonstops on United or Lufthansa to Frankfurt are now about $1500 round trip. How about SFO-London for a little pre-Olympics action in July? British Airways, United and Virgin Atlantic will get you there for about $1,400 round trip.  If you would like to fly in for the Games, fares are $2,000+ for economy class round trips.

My best advice for those on a budget is to try and schedule your trips before about June 15, or after about August 24—a cheaper period outside the peak of the peak summer travel season. If your schedule can handle it, choose one-stop flights or red-eyes, which tend to be cheaper. Most times, you’ll find cheaper fares on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays.

Have you searched summer fares yet? Please provide any highs or lows (or onerous restrictions) you’ve found in the comments boxes below. 

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Summer business class sale beckons bargain hunters

Lufthansa's A380 flying SFO-FRA has a whopping 98 business class seats

Economy class round trips between SFO and Europe during peak summer travel season (July/August) are now approaching $1,500 round trip- and will continue to creep up to near the $2,000 mark over the next few months.

However, airlines have a tough time selling those big business class seats on transatlantic flights because a lot of business travelers are on vacation during July and August. Due to the drop in demand for business class during summer, airlines are dropping prices- from the standard $6,000-$8,000 round trip to as little as $2,250 round trip.


For example, Lufthansa’s round-trip, all-in business class fares from SFO range from $2,250 to $3,500 depending on your final destination. (See chart below.) You must book your trip by May 31 for trips beginning June 29 and ending before September 1.

These fares are good on Lufthansa as well as its Star Alliance partners Air Canada, Swiss or United. United has matched Lufthansa’s business class sale. So have SkyTeam airlines such as Delta, KLM and Air France. Virgin Atlantic has joined in the fun. However British Airways does not appear to be joining in on the sale at this time.

Lufthansa fares from SFO:

With fares that low for business class…would you pay the premium for a big seat up front?