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January 14, 2004 -- The sales march on. This week, we've seen a slew of excellent fares that make this a very good time to book, especially for domestic trips within the next month or two. Since the high temperature around our offices looks like it'll be 15°F today, our minds have turn to warmer climes and the el cheapo fares to get you there.

Flying to Florida? Lots of Cheap Fares

Pretty much everyone is having a $138 (plus tax) special to Florida this week, led by US Airways. US Airways is offering $138 fares (think $160 after tax) from 24 states and the District of Columbia to Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, or West Palm Beach. You must buy your tickets by tomorrow, Jan. 16, and fly by Feb. 12. Find details and book these fares online at www.usairways.com/pro/specials/best_florida.htm.

Other participants in the Florida-fest include:

Spirit, JetBlue and ATA are even undercutting the standard $138 on some routes. JetBlue will fly you from Washington-Dulles to Fort Lauderdale for $130; Spirit will get you from Washingon-National to Fort Lauderdale for $134. ATA, meanwhile, will fly you from Indianapolis to St. Petersburg, FL for $118. Spirit's current sale is on through Jan. 22, ATA's is on through Jan. 19, and JetBlue's is on through Feb. 10.

United Knows the Way to San José (Costa Rica)

Celebrating their new service from Washington, D.C. to San Jose, Costa Rica, United is offering unusually low fares to this tropical paradise. To get United's great fares, you must book by tomorrow, Jan. 16, for flights between now and April 1.

Roundtrip fares to Costa Rica include (before $60 or so in tax):

  • From DC: $278
  • From Chicago: $338
  • From Buffalo, Charlotte, Columbus, Detroit, Hartford, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Raleigh: $378
  • From Boston, New York and Newark: $398

Some of United's fares are being matched by other airlines. When we checked for February dates, Continental was matching United's fare from Chicago, and both Delta and American were matching United's fare from New York. But United's fare from DC was the lowest we could find -- and, in general, these are very good fares.

To book United's sale fares, go to www.united.com/page/article/0,1360,50469,00.html and to see other airlines' fares, use your favorite online travel agent. For our full guide to Costa Rica, see www.frommers.com/destinations/costarica.

... And Just One More Note

ATA's spectacular Newark-Honolulu fare of $398 plus tax just keeps rolling on. If you haven't taken advantage of it yet, book the darn thing. It's available for purchase through Jan. 19 and for flights through late May at www.ata.com.