Well, AirTran, I Do Declare...
AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com) is currently having a system-wide sale, good for travel through late spring. While the coast-to-coast fares are, eh, just so-so, the real savings can be found along the east coast, to southern cities like Savannah, Charleston, and Pensacola. Take a look:
- Atlanta to Chicago $159 round-trip
- Atlanta to Miami $149 round-trip
- Bloomington to Charleston SC $149 round-trip
- Boston to Savannah $149 round-trip
- Buffalo to Pensacola $159 round-trip
- Charleston to New York $149 round-trip
- Dallas to Savannah $149 round-trip
- Detroit to Jacksonville FL $159 round-trip
- Washington DC to Milwaukee $159 round-trip
- Wichita to Tampa $179 round-trip
- Orlando to Raleigh/Durham $139 round-trip
- Memphis to West Palm Beach $179 round-trip
- Milwaukee to Richmond VA $159
- Chicago to Savannah $149 round-trip
- Rochester to Tampa $159 round-trip
You'll find the better deals available for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. All tickets must be booked by February 12, and are good for travel through May 20.
American Airlines Ski Sale
It may be hard to imagine now under all those layers of wool and down, but spring will be here before you know it. And if you're looking for one last winter hoorah, American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) just so happens to have a new sale to major ski towns like Gunnison/Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs/Hayden, Montrose/Telluride, and Jackson Hole.
- Austin to Hayden/Steamboat Springs $250 round-trip
- Atlanta to Gunnison $281 round-trip
- Nashville to Hayden/Steamboat Springs $280 round-trip
- Baltimore to Hayden/Steamboat Springs $280 round-trip
- Boston to Jackson Hole $301 round-trip
- Charlotte to Gunnison $281 round-trip
- Detroit to Hayden/Steamboat Springs $281 round-trip
- Cincinnati to Jackson Hole $281 round-trip
- Houston to Gunnison $281 round-trip
- New York to Hayden/Steamboat Springs $271 round-trip
- Oklahoma City to Jackson Hole $251 round-trip
- Chicago to Jackson Hole $281 round-trip
- Pensacola to Gunnison $280 round-trip
- Pittsburgh to Jackson Hole $281 round-trip
- St Louis to Hayden/Steamboat Springs $251 round-trip
This sale is good for travel beginning February 6 and, as far as we can tell, there's no expiration so come and get it, before these fares are sold out.
Key West in Winter
If zipping around a mound of snow is the last thing you'd want to be doing right now (in which case, we feel ya), American (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) is also having a sale to Miami, Sarasota, and Key West. And while the fares to Miami and Sarasota are easily beatable, the Key West fares are certainly worth a double take.
- Baltimore to Key West $254 round-trip
- Washington DC to Key West $248 round-trip
- Greensboro to Key West $285 round-trip
- Memphis to Key West $225 round-trip
- Pittsburgh to Key West $285 round-trip
- Richmond VA to Key West $225 round-trip
- Denver to Key West $335 round-trip
- Dallas to Key West $335 round-trip
This sale is valid for travel through February 29, and before you go getting any romantical ideas in your head, blackout dates fall on Valentine's Day, February 15 through 18, as well as February 22 through 25.
February to June Aloha Sale
Not all airlines put Valentine's Day in the blackout bin. The latest sale from Aloha (tel. 800/367-5250; www.alohaairlines.com) is good for travel from February 14 all the way through June 5. Fares include:
- San Diego to Honolulu $298 round-trip
- Oakland to Kona $298 round-trip
- San Diego to Kona $238 round-trip
- San Diego to Lihue $238 round-trip
- San Diego to Kahului-Maui $238 round-trip
- Santa Ana to Honolulu $398 round-trip
- Santa Ana to Kahului-Maui $298 round-trip
- Santa Ana to Lihue $398 round-trip
In this case, the blackout dates fall around spring break, March 13 through March 31, and again May 16, 18, 23, and 26. All purchases must be made by February 5.
JetBlue Goes Fully Refundable
JetBlue (tel. 800-538-2583; www.jetblue.com) this week began offering new refundable fares through their website and third-party partners. This new option provides additional flexibility to people who want the ability to change or cancel their travel plans without penalty. This comes on the heels of Southwest's launch of their "Business" and "Business Select" classes of service in November which also allow for ticket changes and refunds. JetBlue appears to be playing a bit of catch-up in this space.
JetBlue allows unlimited changes to the ticket without penalty as well as a full refund at any time prior to the flight's departure. If you miss your flight and do not notify the airline, you will receive a full credit for the cost of the flight to be used at a future date within one year.
This appears to be a positive development, but in investigating the new fare structure, Airfarewatchdog.com has noticed that travelers need to carefully compare their options when considering the new refundable fares.
For example, we checked prices on flights from West Palm Beach to New York, JFK on a Friday in March and found that JetBlue's everyday fare was $99-$119 each way, while the refundable fare for the same flight was priced at $399 each way. That's up to four times the cost for the added flexibility, which is quite steep.
However, when we checked prices for New York, JFK to West Palm on the same Friday, prices ranged from $204 to $324 at their everyday fare vs. the same $399 for the refundable fare. In this instance, the price premium was not as great and may be worth the added cost for the additional flexibility.
We recommend doing your homework and comparing the lowest available JetBlue fares with the new refundable fares before booking. Depending on your specific situation and the prevailing fares at the time of booking, the new refundable fares may or may not be an option worth pursuing.
Single Urban Sophisticates, Spinstery Cat-Folk: Cover Thine Eyes...
Is JetBlue giving special deals to couples on the sly? Here's something noticed that when booking two or more passengers, some JetBlue flights drop in price as much as $15 each way. When we checked flights from West Palm Beach to New York, JFK on March 14, we noticed that the lowest fare when booking one passenger was $99 each way, while the lowest fare shown for two or more passengers was $84 each way. We have noticed this before, and it seems to be a nuance of JetBlue's reservation system, although it's never been officially documented anywhere to our knowledge. Yet one more thing to keep in mind when comparison shopping for airfare.
Are Frequent Flyer Credit Cards Worth the Plastic They're Printed On?
After a whole lotta hullabaloo when trying to cash in our miles, we got to thinking -- is this really worth the trouble? Not really. So what did we do? We found something better than miles.
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 readers on our Air Travel Message Boards today.