April 9 -- Everybody nowadays has their eyes glued to Atlanta. Sure, that's mostly because of Atlanta-based CNN beaming images of its studio to the millions of Americans following war news, but we've got another story bubbling up from the capital of the New South: a tale of low airfares. (And even if you're not from Atlanta, these will benefit you. For instance, all of the carriers below are including several Florida destinations in their sales.)
AirTran is launching service from its Atlanta hub to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Denver, and celebrating with a sale. The best part: if you buy by tomorrow (April 10), one-way tickets from any AirTran city to or from Los Angeles sell for $99. Sure, you have to connect through Atlanta, but that's a truly great fare, and it even applies to destinations like Rochester, NY that are usually starved for low fares. If you miss that deadline, fares between the three new cities and Atlanta (but only Atlanta) are $99 through May 6. Denver flights start May 21, LA flights begin June 4, and Las Vegas flights begin June 11, so you'll be planning ahead here. Buy at www.airtran.com.
Not to be outdone by a plucky upstart, Atlanta's 800-pound gorilla Delta has launched a pretty good-looking sale to 40 US cities runs through April 16. Once more, there are plenty of Atlanta routes on Delta's list, (New York to Atlanta is going for $87 each way) but also some non-Atlanta trips, such as $84 each way from Boston to Wichita and $82 for Dayton, OH to Savannah, GA. (We noticed there are quite a few AirTran cities on Delta's sale list, places like Dayton, Wichita and Milwaukee. Competition seems to focus the mind.) Fares are good for travel Monday through Thursday and on Saturday from April 14 through Oct. 1, 2003, and require a seven-day advance purchase. There are also a bunch of unnecessarily complicated blackout dates and special rules involving travel to and from Florida. Perhaps in response to AirTran, these fares can be bought as one-way tickets -- neat! Buy at www.delta.com.
Don't think of JetBlue as just a New York City airline any more. On May 8, they're starting service to California from -- yup, you guessed it -- Atlanta. Introductory fares between Long Beach or Oakland and Atlanta are $99 each way. A seven-day advance purchase is required, and travel must be completed by June 25. Given a choice between flying for the same fare nonstop on AirTran or JetBlue, we'd pick JetBlue, because you get to watch TV on the flight. JetBlue is also starting service on May 8 from Long Beach, Calif. to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with an introductory fare of $99. We were shocked to find these fares apparently plentiful on JetBlue's Web site, so snap them up before they're all gone. Buy at www.jetblue.com.
They're not based in Atlanta, but they do fly to Atlantic City, so we'll allow Spirit Airlines a pass here. They're running a sale where you get $20 off their normal fares for booking on the Web -- and an extra $5 off if your flight is in May or September. Prices are very low with this one. May and September flights from Atlantic City to Florida are $99 each way, flights from Chicago to LA are $69, and flights from New York to Orlando are $71. Purchase by April 17 on www.spiritair.com.
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