November 20th, 2012

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Outside of peak holiday travel dates, winter travel is generally a slower period for the airlines and they’re more motivated to discount fares to fill plane. This summer I thought fares were noticeably higher than past years and I was worried that they wouldn’t come back down- especially with so much industry consolidation within the past couple years.

However, airlines are still running some pretty generous fare sales, but you often have to act quick. JetBlue is offering 25% off (Promo code WINTER25) for travel November 27-December 20th and 20% off (WINTER20) for travel January 7- February 14, 2014. Flights must be booked through jetblue.com/promo and the promo code must be entered on the search screen.
However, don’t assume this makes JetBlue the cheapest option by 25% or more. I did a test booking for December 6-10 JFK-LAX and JetBlue came to $243 with the discount versus American at $264. Personally, I’d rather get double miles/elite miles on American, but I can see why non-brand loyal customers would rather fly JetBlue (better in-flight experience in economy- I mean Dunkin Donuts coffee!) over American.

Virgin America
Virgin America is also offering a 20% off coupon Main Cabin travel on select routes from non-stop routes to/from San Francisco and Los Angeles: Dallas, Washington Dulles, Chicago, Portland, Palm Springs and Philadelphia when you like their Facebook page and fill out a quick form. The discount code gets emailed within minutes. Travel must occur between January 7, 2013 and March 13, 2013. Blackout dates are Jan 18, Jan 21, Feb 15, and Feb 18, 2013. Also check out their new offer to match status of certain American and United fliers.

Reasonable Fares
In general I think flights have returned to a somewhat reasonable level on many routes. I just booked a last minute LaGuardia- Miami one-way for $81 total on American and a lot of the transcontinental flights I’m looking at over the next couple months are in the $250-$300 range vs. the $400+ I was battling for most of the year.  Let’s hope this trend continues, but I have a feeling unrest in the Middle East could send oil prices surging, but let’s hope for peace for more reasons than just cheap airfares!

Feel free to share your cheap airfare finds or any coupon codes that can make winter travel a little bit more affordable. Also, feel free to share your Virgin America discount if you don’t plan on using it…mine is D9F52E8A. 

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