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Our Forecast: Low Fare Pressure Continues

Updated January 30, 2004 -- Domestic airfares right now are going through an extended period of sales, which is great for travelers. As soon as one sale expires, it seems like another pops up to take its place. That doesn't mean you should be complacent, of course; at any moment, all these sales might vanish for a while. Rather, you should buy as soon as you see a fare that truly pleases you. Some fares that have pleased us in the past couple of days:

Southwest has extended their domestic fare sale through Thursday, Feb. 26. That means fares on their flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are capped at $99 each way; fares on other days are capped at $139. Many fares are lower, of course, down to $39 each way. A two-week advance purchase is required, as is a one-night stay, but a Saturday night stay isn't mandatory to get these fares. Search and book online at www.southwest.com.

American Airlines is celebrating their new nonstop route between New York's JFK airport and Phoenix with a $158 roundtrip fare, excellent for this route. You must buy by Feb. 10 and travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays through April 14 to get this fare. You'll also get double frequent flier miles, which aren't enough to get you anything except a couple of magazine subscriptions, but hey. Head to www.aa.com for this deal.

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There's something weirdly poetic about Frontier's sale fares for flights this summer between Denver and Anchorage: if they applied to flights now, they'd be bringing snow to snow, whichever way you go. The important factor, though, is that they significantly undercut Alaska Airlines' fares on that route. For trips between May 9 and September 25, fares are $258 roundtrip Monday-Wednesday and $378 roundtrip Thursday-Sunday. You must buy by Saturday, Jan. 31 to get these fares. Go to www.flyfrontier.com if you're interested.

Take this next sale with some caution: USA 3000 Airlines is advertising $118 roundtrips to three Florida cities from colder climes. We looked and found more $138 and $178 roundtrips than $118 fares, but the fares were still competitive. Still, we'd advise caution about flying USA 3000, as we don't know anything about their record for service or reliability. And we'd check prices on US Airways (www.usairways.com), ATA (www.ata.com) and Spirit (www.spiritair.com) before booking with USA 3000.

USA 3000's sale applies to flights from:

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  • Chicago to St. Petersburg or Ft. Myers
  • Cleveland to Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg or Ft. Myers
  • Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale or St. Petersburg
  • Milwaukee to Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg or Ft. Myers
  • Newark to Ft. Lauderdale or St. Petersburg
  • Philadelphia to Ft. Lauderdale or St. Petersburg
  • Pittsburgh to Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg or Ft. Myers

To book, go to www.usa3000.com.

 

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