Southwest Sale

This is a sale with a twist. First, it's good for travel through Southwest's (tel. 800/435-9792; current "end of sale" date, which is Aug 14. Second, it's good for travel Mon-Thu and Sat, rather than the usual Tue/Wed or Tue/Wed/Sat.

And third, the maximum price you'll pay is $99 each way.

A very good deal.

Purchase through April 6, 2009 for travel through August 14, 2009, and mind the 14-day advance purchase. Fares include:

East Coast Sale on US Airways

Here's a little something we came across the other day from US Airways (tel. 800/428-4322;, good for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, through May 20th. Fares include:

All purchases require a 10-day advance purchase and no minimum stay. East coast folks should check their city page for more fares from this sale, which - by the way - probably won't stick around for long, so get a move on!

Money Back for Price Drops, Goodbye Booking Fees

Just last week, ( Expedia announced plans to temporarily scrap booking fees. Remember that? Sure you do! And now comes word from Travelocity that they too will be waiving their usual booking fee for reservations made through May 31.

They're also talking up their new PriceGuardian deal, whereby they'll gladly refund the difference should someone else book your exact itinerary for less than what you paid. Priceline has also introduced Protection, offering up to $300 back for price drops on flights, and $600 back on vacation package drops. Again, sound familiar? Other sites have made similar offers in the past, and with the same catch. Your itinerary must be exactly matched to your fellow passenger who scored the lower fare. And they mean exactly. You must be booked in the same class of service on the same flight, same departure, same return, same type of room at the very same hotel. And, unless your life is one big Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks rom com, that probably doesn't happen so often.

Hotel & Flight Package 50% Less than the Price of the Flight Alone?

We were helping one of our site's visitors with a last-minute bereavement fare, which most airlines really don't sell anymore (or if they do, they're not that cheap) from Denver to Des Moines leaving this Wednesday and coming back Saturday. Fares were outrageously high, as you might expect for last minute travel with just two days' notice. But wait: what's this? With Travelocity's Total Trip offer, there was a flight plus three nights' hotel accommodations for half the airfare alone! This screen grab says it all.

Lesson: look for these Total Trip offers. They're not always such astounding values as the one we found, but sometimes they are. So don't ignore them!

15% off JetBlue Promo Code

This JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; offer claims to be exclusively for JetBlue American Express Cardholders, however we tried to book a fare using the promo code and it appears to let us use any credit card and still get the savings.

Here's what the offer states: "Reserve that trip you've been planning at the right time and get an extra 15% off your future flight! Just book any JetBlue flight (using promo code AMEX15) through March 24, for travel between May 4 and June 17, and receive 15% off. This is an exclusive offer for JetBlue Cardmembers, so grab your Card and bring home more rewards. Blackout dates are May 21 through May 29.

AirTran A to B Sale

Here's another one of AirTran's (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday sales, this one good through October 30. All fares require a 10-day advance purchase and are not valid for travel on Sundays. Fares include:

Beware of blackout dates! For destinations in Florida, these are: March 27-29; April 3-5, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 19; May 22; June 19, 21, and 25-28; and July 2, 3, 5, and 6.

Interested? Book your tickets by March 26.

The Baggage Insurance They Never Tell You About

Federal regulations require that if an airline loses or damages your luggage or its contents then they are required to pay up to $3,300 in compensation when you fly domestically in the U.S. However, the airline will attempt to depreciate the value of your loss, and will require receipts to prove your claim. (Coverage may be considerably less for international travel from the U.S., or from the European Union). Airlines typically exclude coverage for "valuables" and "business effects" -- this includes things such as electronics, jewelry, cash, art work, and business related documents and samples.

But for some people -- those traveling with Louis Vuitton trunks, Vera Wang wedding gowns, or simply a lot of expensive clothing -- $3,300 simply isn't enough coverage. That's where something called "excess valuation" (EV) can come in handy. Never heard of this? Well, the airline rep checking your bag at the airport isn't likely to tell you about it unless you ask. So let us chart it out for you over in our blog.

Shocking Stats on Lost Luggage

Whatever happened to those security people at baggage claim that compare your bag claim check with the one stapled to your ticket? It's been a long while since we've spotted one, but after hearing this passenger's story we're beginning to miss them. See for yourself.

Additional reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

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

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