advertisement

Ski Getaways from American & United

Winter sport enthusiasts and Ugg-loving Aspen types, lean in: American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) and United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com) are having great sales to Colorado and Wyoming ski spots. And though American is currently touting this ski sale, we've found even lower fares, on both American and United. Better still, these lower fares are good through April 20, whereas the advertised sale fares are good through March 28. See? Better.

For prices from your area, check out our fare pages for Vail, Gunnison, Jackson Hole, Montrose, and Hayden/Steamboat Springs.

USA3000 Warm Weather Deals

USA 3000 (tel. 877/872-3000; www.usa3000airlines.com) is offering fares of $100 each way (plus taxes and fees) to warm weather spots in the Caribbean and Mexico in February and March. In many cases the availability is scarce but acting quickly can help you snag a break from the snow, sleet and cold. USA 3000 offers nonstop service to CancĂșn, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta and Montego Bay to name a few of the most well-served routes. Popular gateways include Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Check out its website, where you should use the flexible traveler option to easily see their booking calendar for each month. These fares disappear as quickly as they pop up most of the time. So, there's no time like the present to escape on rather short notice and do it inexpensively! (While you're looking, you might want to check out their Ft. Myers and St. Petersburg, FL offerings as well.)

For fares, visit our CancĂșn, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta, and Montego Bay pages.

Latest AirTran Sale

Here's your weekly sale from AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com), basically identical to their previous offerings except for the dates. One-way fares start at $39, before tax. All tickets must be purchased by February 10, require a 10-day advance purchase, and are good for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday travel until May 20 (except for Florida and San Juan, in which case all travel must be wrapped up by March 11).

Blackout dates include February 21 and 22, March 22, and 29, and April 3-5, 10, 12, 13, and 19.

Swiss International Airlines Business Class Sale

Swiss International Airlines (tel. 877/359-7947; www.swiss.com) is having a biz class sale on winter/spring travel from the U.S. to Europe. All fares require a 14-day advance purchase and are valid for round-trip travel between February 2 and April 30, and must be purchased by February 6.

Though we were able to find better business class deals in some larger markets (such as New York), the rest of these fares are great deals:

Priceline Now Posting Bid Statistics

With all the luck we've had using fare bidding sites, especially when booking last-minute emergency trips, we can't help but find their mysterious grab bag approach a bit off putting. Once you decide to go the Priceline Name Your Own Price route, you're basically agreeing to fly whatever airline accepts your bid, departing at whatever time of day. Sure, you do get some say, such as what airports you're willing to depart from, the number of stopovers you're willing to make, and -oh, how they word it? Something about what aircraft you're willing to fly on? Non-jet? Crop-duster? A cluster of helium balloons tied to a lawn chair? Something undesirable. Then there's the matter of the bid itself. If your offer is too low and no airline accepts, you must make a change to your trip criteria, be it upping your price, or adding a new airport, or saying yes to the chair with helium balloons.

That said, we were pleased to stumble across this handy new feature from Priceline, which provides you with all the statistics you'll need to make an informed bid on your particular route: Previous bids vs. retail, total savings, days bought in advance, layover length, and departure times. For example, if you're bidding on Atlanta to New York, you have an 88% chance of departing between 6am and 10am, you have a 100% chance of having a layover which will probably be about 79 minutes long, and the lowest bid accepted on this route was purchased 19 days in advance by user Darlene D for $152, compared to the going rate of $298, which saved Darlene 49%. What about the shortest advance purchase on this route? User Melvin M purchased his trip just one day prior to traveling for $191. Not bad!

So while users still don't know exactly what their bid might bring, these numbers do give a better idea of what to expect. Isn't that comforting? We think so.

This info is currently available only for Priceline's 30 Most Popular Routes, and Routes with the Best Savings.

Southwest & WestJet Offer 10% off to Canada

Remember that whole business a while back whereby Southwest (tel. 800/435-9792; www.southwest.com) and WestJet (tel. 800/538-5696; www.westjet.com) planned to team up in some vague way, and everyone did somersaults and high-fived? But when the drum roll settled and it came time for the big reveal, all they'd done was provide a link between the two sites? Right, that was a tad disappointing. So at least now Southwest is offering 10% off on WestJet flights to Canada, if booked through their magic link, and using promo code GOCANADA. This deal is good for travel 7 days a week, through October 31 (yes, Halloween! Spooky!). All fares must be booked by February 9.

Not familiar with WestJet, your neighboring budget airline to the north? Well, they service the following U.S. cities: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Honolulu, Kona, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Tampa. And about 30 Canadian destinations. In both directions, of course.

$50 off JetBlue Flights

JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) has a new promo starting today. If you book a roundtrip flight on jetblue.com for travel between February 24, 2009 and March 31, 2009, they'll send you a $50 voucher good for travel on JetBlue between May 4 and June 17, 2009 (Black out dates of May 21 to May 25 apply).

This offer expires on February 8, 2009. You can sign up via this link.

Top 10 Airfare Tips of 2009

With all the great fares the airlines have been serving up, pinning down a good deal hasn't been all that challenging in '09. Compared to last year, at least. Will it last? We have no idea, as we are not the Amazing Kreskin. Still, it wouldn't hurt you to beef up your fare-finding skills a tad, which is why we've compiled our Top 10 Airfare Tips for 2009. Take a look, won't you?

Additional Reporting by Alisa Brayman and 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.