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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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Virgin America debuts new Banana Republic uniforms

Two Bay Area companies well known for their distinctive style, Virgin America and Banana Republic, have teamed up to create a new line of uniforms for Virgin America’s 2,000+ front-line employees. The new look is dubbed “utility chic.”

Starting on August 8, the new line will make its debut on runways airplane aisles and airport concourses as Virgin’s flight attendants, pilots and airport employees don their new attire.

The project began with what sounds like a “Project Runway” challenge among Banana Republic design teams in New York City. Each team submitted their early designs to a panel of Virgin employees, and the winning design won the chance to create the full collection. Virgin says that the entire process took 18 months, multiple fittings, focus groups (and likely many cross-country SFO-JFK trips) to design. There’s a variety of styles for Virgin America’s pilots, in-flight and guest service employees.

Project Runway’s snappy Tim Gunn (Photo: A+E Networks)

For men, the nine styles include leather jackets, lined mac coats, striped sleeve sweaters, woven shirts and pants. For women, thirteen styles include a classic pencil skirt, slim dress, trousers, leather jacket and trench to start, paired with luxe silk print scarves, slim plaque belts and Virgin America-branded serving aprons for in-flight meal service. All looks include classic aviation touches, such as shoulder tabs and button chest pockets.

Take a spin through the slideshow above and let us know what you think! I for one will miss the pilot’s current all-black (and oh so S-F) uniform- from the looks of the photos provided by Virgin, it will change to a smoky brown. I was also hoping that flight attendant pumps would be red- just like those worn by Virgin Atlantic flight attendants. A spokesperson told The BAT that red pumps (and even boots!) are on the drawing board for next year. I do like the leather jackets!

So come on, channel your inner Tim Gunn, click through the slideshow and tell us what you think about the new styles!   Comments below please! 
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