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Southwest Winter Sale Extended

Extended! Save on winter travel with the current sale from Southwest (tel. 800/435-9792; www.southwest.com). Fares start at $59 one-way. Offer is valid for travel Jan. 4 through March 9. Fares may not be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times and holiday periods.

All tickets must be booked by 11:59pm PT, Dec. 13.

Round-trip fares include:

Virgin America's Cyber Monday Sale

Virgin America's (tel. 877/359.8474; www.virginamerica.com) Cyber Monday sale features fares as low as $39 one-way, before taxes. Offer is good for travel from Dec. 6 through May 11. All tickets require a 7-day advance purchase. Tickets must be booked by 11:59pm PDT, Dec. 6.

Fares are lowest for travel Monday through Thursday and Saturday, with higher fares for Friday and Sunday travel.

Blackout dates are Dec. 18, 2010; Dec. 23, 2010; Dec. 26, 2010; Jan. 2-3, 2011; Feb. 18, 21, 2011

For a complete list of fares, please visit our homepage and search what's available from your nearest Virgin America city.

Winter Sale from Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines' (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) winter sale is good for travel from Dec. 6 through March 10. Tickets require a 7-day advance purchase.

Sale fares not valid Dec. 16 through Jan. 4; Jan. 17; Feb. 17-21; and Feb. 26. Additionally, sale fares from Honolulu not valid Jan. 5-10.

Sale fares to/from Hawaii valid Monday-Thursday only, with the following exceptions: sale fares between Kona and San Jose or Oakland, and between Maui and San Jose or Oakland, are valid daily (some flights may not operate daily; see service exceptions). Sale fares to/from Mexico valid daily (some flights may not operate daily; see service exceptions). Sale fares for all other cities valid Monday-Thursday, and Saturday. Travel between the following cities must be nonstop: Anchorage-Chicago, Bellingham-Honolulu, Bellingham-Las Vegas, Kona-Oakland, Kona-San Jose, Las Vegas-Portland, Las Vegas-Seattle, Las Vegas-Washington, D.C., Oakland-Maui, Maui-San Diego, Maui-San Jose, Maui-Sacramento, Austin-Portland, Boise-San Jose, and Boise-Sacramento.

Sale ends Dec. 6. Round-trip fares include:

Airline Travel Vouchers Are Not Created Equally

It pays to fly -- sometimes. But it's rarely before the airlines have exhausted all other options. When they get to the end of their rope, that's when you get what's known as a voucher. It's also known as credit, but this is the airline industry. In many ways, the airline industry is stuck in the past, a sepia-toned time, when we had things like mimeograph machines and automat diners.

Has your airline issued you a travel voucher, or have you ever been tempted to accept one? This is something that's issued in cases of extreme delay, in cases of mechanical failure; sometimes you'll get it because they really are so very sorry that they totally ruined your day with awful service (in those cases, you have to beg, and you have to beg a lot, and you have to be ready to prove that their behavior was as bad as you say it was.)

Sometimes vouchers come easier; you canceled your trip before the date of travel, for instance. Maybe the fare goes down after you buy, and the airline has a lowest fare guarantee policy. Maybe you were one of those good guys who took the buyout when the gate agent asked for volunteers to switch from an oversold flight.

No matter for what reason you get the credit, or the voucher -- and most of them come due to some inconvenience of some sort -- you can expect even more inconvenience when you try to actually use the thing. Ah, but never fear! We've charted out the rules, carrier by carrier. More on this in the Airfarewatchdog blog.

Beware of the Tight Connection

Does your next itinerary allow you a measly half hour to connect? Right, well before you lace up those running shoes, better take a look at our recent Q&A. From the mailbag:

Q: I am planning on flying with my elderly father from New York to Augusta via Charlotte. From Charlotte, he would need to catch a plane 35 minutes later to Augusta on the same airline. Will he have to go through security again or, since he is catching a flight on the same airline, can he just walk to another gate in Charlotte? Will he make it on time?

A: Read on.

Additional reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and fare sales, including the most helpful and always updated Top 50 Airfares.

Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Air Travel Forum today.