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I briefly mentioned the current Southwest sale last night, but wanted to talk about it again today as it is a big deal for those who have some domestic tickets to purchase for travel over the next few months. I don’t usually fly Southwest (due to how far Houston Hobby is from my house), but when possible, I wait for Southwest sales like this one in order to lock in a number of bookings…on United. Southwest has “sales” almost every week, but this type of sale where routes have fixed prices based on the distance flown are different. Not only are the prices often lower on some routes than can frequently be more expensive, but other airlines (like United, Delta, and American) have a tendency to match these sales – even from their hubs. You don’t often find an airline like United matching a sale out of one of their hubs, like Houston, but they frequently do with this sale…which is fantastic for families like mine.
For example, thanks to this sale today I grabbed a $300 round trip fare from Houston into a smaller market that is consistently around $500+ round trip. $300 is still not cheap for a domestic flight, but it was well below the market average for that route, and it is a direct flight on my airline of choice. If I was in need of a round trip from Houston to Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Orlando, or other destinations that are between 501-1,000 miles away I could lock them in for around $175 round trip on either Southwest or United. In fact, I just completed a round trip to Atlanta last weekend that was booked for about $150 round trip during one of these sales in 2012. I know my examples are rather Houston-centric, but the same applies to many other markets where Southwest or AirTran operates.
We are in the second of three days for this sale (ends 11:59PM Pacific on 2/7), and typically availability starts to dry up at some point on the second day. Some routes/flight times will stay available for the whole sale, but not all will. So, don’t sit on this until tomorrow night just because the sale runs until then. If you can commit now (remember 24 hour cancellation policies), then do it. These fares aren’t necessarily “mileage run” worthy, but they are often good fares on some popular domestic routes. Here are just a few examples of what is available.
Houston – Las Vegas: $237 RT (United May 1 – May 4)
Houston – Orlando: $177 RT (United June 1 – June 4)
Atlanta – Chicago: $178 RT (United April 12 – 15)
LaGuardia – Ft. Lauderdale: $174 RT (Delta and American April 25 – April 30)
San Francisco – Phoenix: $178 RT (US Airways and United May 31- June 4)
Of course you can also book on Southwest and/or AirTran, if you prefer them to the other major carriers. Remember that those airlines allow you to rebook at a lower price and you receive credit to use on a future flight for the difference in fare, so it can pay to check your existing Southwest or AirTran reservations as well.
Have you locked in some tickets thanks to this nationwide sale? If so, I’d love to hear about them! The only thing better than “free” travel, is “cheap” travel!