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Airfare Deals and News for the Week of April 16, 2010

Spring savings from Virgin American and JetBlue, plus the latest scoop on flying standby -- more airlines are charging for same-day flight changes that used to be free.

AirTran Sale for Travel Through Fall

This week's AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; sale is valid for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through November 10. Fares require a 10-day advance purchase, and must be booked by 11:59pm ET, April 20. Steer clear of blackout dates on May 28, 31, June 18-20, 25-27, July 2, 3, 5, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-31, August 1, and 6-8.

Round-trip fares include:

Los Angeles On Sale From Allegiant

From Allegiant (tel. 888/594-6937;, save on summer travel to Los Angeles. Fares require a 7-day advance purchase, and all travel must be complete by September 30. All purchases must be made by April 28.

And don't forget to consider Allegiant's baggage fees. From their site: When purchased at the time of booking, a first checked bag fee of $15-$25 per bag and second checked bag fee of $25-$30 will apply per person, per segment. If purchased at flight check-in, a fee of $35 per checked bag, per person, per segment will apply for the first two bags checked. Additional higher fees will apply for three or more checked bags.

Still, even when factoring in bag fees, taxes, and so on, these fares are much lower than what's being offered from other carriers along these routes.

Round-trip, nonstop fares include:

JetBlue Anniversary Sale

JetBlue's (tel. 800/538-2583; 10th Anniversary Spring Sale features fares as low as $29 one-way before taxes, or 5,000 TrueBlue Points. Sale is valid for Tuesday or Wednesday travel between April 22 and June 16. Fares may require a 10-day advance purchase, and must be booked by April 21. Avoid blackout dates from May 25 through June 1 along all routes.

Round-trip fares include:

Restrictions vary, especially for travel to/from the Caribbean, and include:

To/from BOS: no travel 4/22-4/28/10. BOS to Bermuda: travel only 5/1-6/16/10 (for 5/1-5/31 travel on Mon/Thurs/Fri.) (for 6/1/-6/16 no travel Sat/Sun.). BOS to Montego Bay: travel only Wed Fort Lauderdale to Santo Domingo: travel Tues/Wed. Fort Lauderdale to Nassau: no Sat/Sun. New York City to Kingston: travel only 4/22-5/27/10 on Tues/Wed. New York City to Punta Cana: travel only 5/6-6/16/10, no Sat/Sun. New York City to St. Lucia: travel Mon/Thurs/Sun. from 4/22-4/30/10 and no Tues/Wed from 5/1-6/16-10. New York City to Aruba, Bermuda, Barbados, Montego Bay, Nassau, St. Maarten: no travel Sat/Sun. Orlando to Montego Bay, Nassau, San Jose (CR): no travel Sat/Sun. San Juan to Santo Domingo: travel Tues/Wed. Washington, D.C. to Cancun: travel Sat only.

Fares to Fly By from Virgin America

From Virgin America (tel. 877/359.8474; comes another Fares to Fly By sale, good for travel from April 26 through June 20. Fares range from $49 to $129 each way for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Fares are a tad higher for travel on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, at $69 to $149 each way. Fares must be booked by April 19.

Other sale fares are available for travel from August 19 through November 17, when booked by April 30. Blackout dates are May 28 and 31. Fares rules may vary by route where Virgin is matching Southwest's "travel-by" date of June 24.

Round-trip fares include:

Panic Mode: Summer Fares to Europe Are Still Ridiculously High!

If you are planning to go to Europe this summer and have yet to purchase a ticket, you might be in a bit of a panic about now, especially since fares are so high. From the Airfarewatchdog mailbag, one such jittery traveler writes: "Please help me understand this crazy airfare problem. I need to buy a ticket to Barcelona for this summer (June/July 2010). I've been tracking the airfares since December, trying to find a good cheap fare. Most are over $1,000. Departing from NYC, Miami, or Charlotte, it doesn't matter; they are all high. Do you think they will get lower? Should I wait a little longer? The euro is cheaper than it has been, but it's not being reflected in the airfares." Check out our reply in the blog.

As with many things associated with airline travel, asking to go on an earlier or later flight on the same day as your original flight used to be free, especially if you were willing to stand by for an empty seat. That's no longer the case. Most recently, United Airlines announced changes to its same-day flight change policy effective for travel on or after April 20, 2010 for tickets purchased on or after April 10. And in February, American Airlines eliminated the free same-day standby option, and now requires all passengers to pay for a confirmed same-day flight change. Seems each airline has a slightly different set of rules, which seem to change at a whim. Annoying? Yes, but we attempt to make some sense of it over in the blog, complete with handy new fee chart.

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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