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Fare of the Day: Seattle to Nashville $182 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fly from Seattle to Nashville for $182 round-trip, including all taxes, on American Airlines/Alaska Airlines.

This fare is valid for travel any day of the week, on select dates through October 3. Tickets require a 14-day advance purchase.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

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Tips for Scoring Cheap Upgrades & More Legroom When You Fly

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Have you noticed that padding on airline seats is getting thinner? And the rows are getting closer together?

Back in the days when the Lockheed Constellation and the DC-6 ruled the skies, seats used to be less punishing -- they were more like your dad’s La-Z-Boy than the church pews they are today.

Now, in order to save fuel and squeeze in more passengers, the padding has been minimized -- and, as we all know, the rows of seats have been placed closer together. And seats may get even thinner as airlines attempt to save fuel with lighter, slimmer seats.

Now, more than ever, upgrading to a seat with more personal space can be a sanity-saver. Here are eight ways to help make your next flight more comfortable at “minimal” cost:

1. Buy a coach seat with extra legroom. JetBlue, Delta, United and other airlines will sell you a few extra inches of legroom at the front of the economy cabin or at exit rows for a reasonable upgrade fee. JetBlue charges as little as $10 extra for seats with 38 inches between rows, and even the standard seats have 34 inches between rows, rather than the 30-31 inches typical on some airlines. (JetBlue also throws in priority boarding and “fast track” TSA lines at most airports.) United has long had its Economy Plus option, offering "up to 5 extra inches of legroom" in coach, starting at $9 per flight for shorter hops and going up to, say, $109 each way on a LA to Tokyo flight. There's also a $425 per year "annual option" giving you unlimited upgrades to the roomier seats, subject to availability of course. Other airlines may offer spontaneous "extra coach legroom" upgrades at the airport, so be sure to ask about them at check in. You never know what you might snag.

2. Buy a cheap domestic business class seat on a discount airline. Airtran (at least until it’s fully integrated with Southwest) and Spirit sell roomier business class seats for far less than most other airlines. Airtran will let you upgrade to business class from any fare at the airport on a first-come, first served basis for $69 and up per flight segment (that's one take off and one landing), or from higher economy fares in advance; Spirit’s Airbuses have one row of four extra-wide seats at the front of the plane with more legroom for sale at $12 to $199 if bought in advance or $25 to $75 for onboard upgrades, depending on flight length.  

3. Buy a non-refundable discounted business or first class seat on a network airline.Although not exactly “cheap,” airlines sell business and first class fares at discounts on their websites. For example, on a Los Angeles to Miami nonstop, American was recently selling economy class seats for as little as $149 each way including tax. But AA was also selling non-refundable “first special” fares for a mere $368 each way (refundable first class was $2148). Just to show you how nonsensical airfares are, “instant upgrade” fares from economy to business class were going for $840 each way, so first class was actually less than half business class.

Other airlines, such as US Airways, also offer these discounted fares.

4. Buy cheap first class last minute upgrades. Virgin America offers last minute upgrades (6 hours before flight time) to its luxurious first class cabin for fees that vary depending on the length of the flight, and US Airways has a similar program called "Go Upgrades"  allowing passengers to upgrade from economy class to first for $50 to $500 each way, depending on flight length, 24 hours or fewer before flight time. You can upgrade by phone or at the airport, and international flights are included. See this chart for more details about these and other programs.  Other airlines sell upgrades at the airport when you check in, either with an employee or at the kiosk. If you don’t see an upgrade offer, ask a representative at check in.

5. No "extra legroom for purchase" option on your airline? At the very least, choose planes with more legroom. Not all aircraft are created equal, even when flown by the same airline. Check out the "seat pitch" data at Seatguru.com and book on an aircraft on which seat rows are spaced further apart. Doing so can earn you as much as two inches of extra legroom. Your knees with thank you.

6. Buy international business and first class fares from consolidators. Ticket sellers such as Planetamex.com sell premium cabin fares at considerable discounts.

7. Use miles to upgrade. This is one of the highest-value ways you can spend your miles. Upgrading a $400 fare on United from New York to LA to a $4000 business class fare for 30,000 miles is a better deal than spending those miles on a $400 fare. Unfortunately, many airlines now charge miles plus cash to upgrade (See chart for more).

8. Be loyal. Upper-tier frequent flyer program members get free upgrades, priority access to exit row seating at no charge, and other perks on many airlines, so stick with one airline, fly frequently, and attain "premier" status.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Fare of the Day: New York to Manaus, Brazil $558 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All those great fares to Manaus, Brazil that we mentioned earlier? They're still very much available, and below is just one of many. From New York, fly to Manaus, Brazil for $558 round-trip, including all taxes, on American Airlines.

This fare is valid for travel on select dates in September and October. For booking info, see our fare details.

And for a complete listing of these fares, visit our Manaus fare page.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Upgrading Your Seat For Surprisingly Little

If you fly a lot, you've probably been offered a business or first class upgrade for surprisingly little extra when you check in at the airport. This irks many elite frequent flyer members who think that it takes away from their benefits, but most airlines offer these upgrades only after all elites have been offered a chance to upgrade their own seat. Some airlines sell upgraded seats for fixed prices when you book your ticket, even on the lowest fares available. The chart below shows what's available on several US domestic airlines.

Airline Price, Short Haul Price, Medium Haul Price, Long Haul Seat Pitch & Layout How far ahead to book? Extra Perks

Airtran

(business class)
$49-69 per segment over Y class fares only (price varies based on how full the flight is) $69 per segment over Y class fares $99-$129 per segment over Y class fares 37 inches, 2 by 2 seating At time of check in (web or at airport); available first come first serve 1st and 2nd checked bag fees waived, priority boarding, complimentary cocktails

Delta

(first class)
$50 for 0-500 miles $75-150 for 501-2,000 $225-350 for 2,001-3,100 36-38 inches, 2 by 2 seating Only available at departure gate and only if all eligible elite members have been upgraded. Full first class service (meals, extra legroom, free checked baggage, free drinks, priority boarding)

JetBlue

(Even More Space)
Depends on route and flight time of day, but can range from $5 to $75 Depends on route and flight time of day, but can range from $5 to $75 Depends on route and flight time of day, but can range from $5 to $75 38 inches Available any time from booking to at the departure gate Extra legroom, priority boarding, priority TSA lines at many airports

Spirit

(Big Front Seat)
Depends on route and time of purchase, but starts at approx. $12 over any fare and ranges to $199 Depends on route and time of purchase $12-199 Depends on route and time of purchase $12-199 36-38 inches, 2 by 2 seating At time of booking or at gate; upgrades are also available on board the aircraft for $25-75 depending on flight length More legroom
United Varies based on fare type purchased and current first class fare Varies based on fare type purchased and current first class fare Varies based on fare type purchased and current first class fare 38 inches, 2 by 2 seating Available at check-in kiosk or during online check-in. Reports indicate that sometimes these paid upgrades are available even before complimentary elite upgrades have been processed Full first class service (meals, extra legroom, free checked baggage, free drinks, priority boarding)

US Airways

(first class or Envoy [international business] Class)
Varies depending on route but can range from as little as $50 each way for a first class upgrade on short domestic routes to $500 on international fares; offered on any fare Varies depending on route but can range from as little as $50 for a first class upgrade on short domestic routes to $500 on international fares Varies depending on route but can range from as little as $50 for a first class upgrade on short domestic routes to $500 on international fares 36-38 inches, 2 by 2 seating 24 hours before departure online, by phone, or at the airport Full first class service (meals, extra legroom, free checked baggage, free drinks, priority boarding)
Virgin America (first class) $79 on any fare $139 $299 55 inches 6 hours before departure (used to be 24 hours) Full first class service

Fare of the Day: Atlanta to Paris, France $542 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fly from Atlanta to Paris, France for $542 round-trip, including all taxes, on United/Lufthansa.

This fare is available on select dates beginning in late October through February. Tickets require a Saturday night stay.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Fare of the Day: New York to Beijing, China $756 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, August 27, 2012

Fly from New York to Beijing, China for $756 round-trip, including all taxes, on Delta Air Lines.

This fare is valid for fall/winter travel, on select dates from November through March.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Super Europe Fares from Dallas

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, August 24, 2012

Fly from Dallas to Milan, Italy for $530 round-trip, including all taxes, on Lufthansa.

With two connections, this isn't the breeziest of itineraries. But it is cheap! And if you'd like to go to Italy, it's worth the effort. We found only a few dates available in March. See our Fare Details for booking info.

We also spotted a reasonable fare from Dallas to Florence, and Bologna, and -if you prefer France- we even found a great deal to Lyon and Nice. We're still checking what else is out there, but in the meantime visit our Dallas listings.

 

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Fare of the Day: New York to San Diego $198 RT, nonstop, including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, August 24, 2012

Fly from New York to San Diego for $198 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes, on American Airlines.

This fare is valid any day of the week, for travel on select dates through October 3.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Discounts For Booking With Debit Over Credit?

Here's something that caught our eye while checking routes on Allegiant. As the screen shot below shows, the charge for paying with a credit card is slightly more than what you'd pay if using your debit card. It's only a $4 difference, but still. As far as transaction fees go, this strikes us as a tad strange. Allegiant is essentially giving travelers a discount for skipping credit in favor of debit:

Fare of the Day: Los Angeles to Rome $722 RT including all taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fly from Los Angeles to Rome for $722 round-trip, including all taxes, on Aeroflot.

This fare is valid for travel on select dates in November, and again from January through late March. A connection in Moscow is required.

For booking info, see our fare details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

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