March 12, 2004 -- Our three sales today don't have much in common, except that they're all worth noting. We have fares to and from Texas, California and Denver.
A Gusher Of Low Texas Fares
Our Lone Star readers often complain that they don't see the kinds of sales coastal types get, and to some extent they're right: their two biggest airports are "fortress hubs" for Continental (in Houston) and American (at Dallas-Fort Worth), both of whom fight fervently to keep competition low and fares high.
Southwest does its best to make travel cheaper, but they're hamstrung by the absurd federal Wright Amendment banning them from offering long-distance flights from Dallas' Love Field using planes with more than 56 seats.
Enter discount airline AirTran. Today only, they're offering a quicky sale for Metroplexuals with fares of no more than $198 from DFW to any of their destinations. (For most places, that means changing planes in Atlanta.) Expect these fares to be matched, if briefly, by other airlines. Atlanta, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Orlando are $158; everywhere else, from Akron to New York to West Palm Beach, is $198. If you're interested, buy your tickets today at www.airtran.com/specials/sale/index.jsp for travel through June 16. A seven-day advance purchase is required, and there are some blackout dates you'll find on AirTran's Web page. If you know a Texan who's hankerin' for a flight, just click the blue EMAIL icon at the top of this article to send it on.
Southwest, meanwhile, continues to do their best to offer Texans fare relief. They have two sales on for Texans: their in-state sale (www.southwest.com/hotfares/genmkt_texas_040210.html) limits fares within Texas to no more than $120 roundtrip, and their national sale (www.southwest.com/hotfares/genmkt_040210.html) lets you go anywhere for $198. (Sorry, Dallasites, the federal government doesn't want you leaving the Southland on Southwest.) For both sales, you must buy your tickets by April 8, at least two weeks in advance of travel. Don't expect these fares to be very available on Fridays or Sundays, and they're entirely blocked out for travel to Florida between March 18 and April 11.
Two New Options For Californians
New routes from JetBlue and United's redheaded stepchild, Ted, are bringing more competition to various routes in California.
The new Ted fares apply on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday flights. Buy by March 19 for travel between April 26 and June 11 on these routes (all prices roundtrip, before tax, but one-way tickets are sold for half these prices):
- LA - Vegas: $58
- SF - Vegas: $59
- SF - Phoenix: $69
Buy online at www.flyted.com.
JetBlue, meanwhile, is inaugurating three new routes from Sacramento and San Jose to NYC, and from Sacramento to Washington, D.C. This gives us a strange sense of security, knowing that were malevolent aliens to land at the nation's capital or attempt to topple the Empire State Building, Arnold Schwarzenegger could whisk himself quickly to the scene of the action.
Right now, the NYC fares are just okay: $238 roundtrip to or from either Sacramento or San Jose. We've seen better fares on United and American. But the $198 fare between DC and Sacramento is excellent. Buy by March 26 for travel by May 27 (June 30 in the case of San Jose.) A seven-day advance purchase is required, and we're sure the lowest fares will sell out quickly. Buy online at www.jetblue.com/specialoffers/superfly.asp#s7x.
Denver, Meet Ted. Ted, Meet Frontier.
The true target of United's new Ted strategy, of course, is Denver, where the airline is defending a fortress hub against several low-fare competitors, most notably Frontier (www.flyfrontier.com).
Ted's current sale offers Las Vegas, Ontario (CA), Phoenix and Reno for $158 roundtrip from Denver. New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale are $178, and Orlando and Tampa are $198. These fares apply on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday flights, and you must buy by March 19 for travel between April 26 and June 11. Buy at www.flyted.com.
Frontier fights back with several new routes. Non-stops from Denver to Nashville, Spokane and Billings, MT are now $198 roundtrip if you travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays. Service to Billings and Spokane starts on May 23; flights to Nashville start June 20. In any case, you have to buy your tickets by April 7 to get these fares; go to www.flyfrontier.com.
Wherever you're flying, remember to shop around using online travel agencies such as Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia. Sales like these are generally matched by other airlines, and the original sale fares may sell out before matching fares do.