February 11, 2004 -- As the high season in the Caribbean winds down, airlines are trying to fill seats with the last of the North American tourist crowd -- and that means sales. Lots of 'em.
This week, we've seen Caribbean fare sales from local airlines BWIA (www.bwee.com) and Air Jamaica (www.airjamaica.com), and also from US airlines Delta (www.delta.com/travel/sp_offers/carib_020904/index.jsp), US Airways (www.usairways.com/pro/specials/caribb_sale.htm), and Spirit (www.spiritair.com). All have good fares. Some have great fares. Who has the best fares? Here are the fares we thought were outstanding (all roundtrip, before tax):
- From Allentown: $245 to San Juan, PR on US Airways
- From Baltimore: $379 to Aruba on Delta
- From Boston: $284 to Mexico City on US Airways
- From Chicago: $323 to Montego Bay on Air Jamaica
- From Cincinnati: $379 to St. Thomas on Delta
- From Denver: $272.70 to San Juan on Spirit
- From Fort Lauderdale: $152.70 to San Juan on Spirit; $272.70 to Cancun on Spirit
- From LA: $479 to Aruba on Delta
- From New York (JFK, Newark or LaGuardia, depending): $178.70 to San Juan on Spirit; $218 to Santo Domingo on Delta; $299 to Barbados on BWIA; $314 to Antigua on Air Jamaica; $324 to Kingston on Air Jamaica
- From Washington, D.C.: $186.70 to San Juan on Spirit; $284 to Barbados on BWIA; $298 to Nassau on US Airways
Naturally, all of these sales have restrictions. You may not find the lowest fares for weekend trips and you certainly won't find them over holiday weekends. Otherwise:
All Delta fares must be bought by Feb. 17. They require a seven-day advance purchase and three-night minimum stay. Delta's fares to Aruba and St. Thomas require that you fly outbound on Sun-Wed by May 28, and return on Tue-Thurs by May 31. For the fare to Santo Domingo, you must fly out between June 1 and July 15, and return by August 14, but you can fly any day of the week.
US Airways fares must be bought by February 13. Generally, either a two-night or Saturday night stay is required. You must fly on Mon-Thu, and must complete your travel by April 8.
BWIA's fares are good for purchase through March 30 for travel by April 19, and you must buy them online.
For the Air Jamaica flights from Chicago or New York to Jamaica, you must travel by April 28, staying at least 3 days and no more than 30. The fare is good on Monday-Thursday flights; weekend flights are $20 more each way. For the flights from New York to Antigua, you must travel by March 31 and stay between 2 and 30 days.
Have you flown any of these carriers to the Caribbean? Tell us about your flight experience, be it good, bad or just plain unusual, on our Air Travel Message Boards.