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Fare of the Day: Honolulu, HI to London, UK

Posted by Ricky Radka on Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fare of the Day: Honolulu, HI (HNL) to London Heathrow, UK (LHR). $835 RT, including all taxes. Fall travel.

Depart on Mon-Wed from November 1 - 30, with select return dates into December. Saturday night stay required. Found on Travelocity but easier to book on AA.com.

To learn more, visit Ricky Radka's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

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Fare of the Day: Philadelphia, PA to Phoenix, AZ

Posted by Ricky Radka on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fare of the Day: Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Phoenix, AZ (PHX). $156 RT, including all taxes.

Travel valid Mon-Thurs & Sat. through January 26, 2011. Saturday night stay required, 10 day advance purchase restriction. Seating is scarce on certain dates and blacked-out during peak holiday travel.

Great fare on Delta trying to drum up some extra business between two US Airways major hub cities. Book it while it lasts.

To learn more, visit Ricky Radka's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

Fare of the Day: Seattle, WA to Reykjavik, Iceland

Posted by Ricky Radka on Monday, September 27, 2010

Fare of the Day: Seattle, WA (SEA) to Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF). $460 RT, non-stop, including all taxes. Fall/Winter travel.

Travel on select dates between November 11 - December 10. Book by September 30, 2010.

This fare was found on Vayama.com, which is currently running a special that subtracts $40 from the final price on certain airlines. Websites such as Orbitz or Icelandair.com have the same itinerary listed at $475.

To learn more, visit Ricky Radka's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips

What the Southwest/Airtran merger means for consumers

Southwest Airlines announced today that it will acquire Airtran in a cash plus stock deal.

Here's what to expect:

1. Good news for Airtran passengers and travel to/from/through Atlanta in general. Southwest has better service than Airtran, and lower fees (assuming that Southwest keeps the low/no-fee model, see no. 4). Southwest is not keeping the Airtran brand.

2. Southwest and Airtran don't have much route overlap, so the merger in and of itself won't lead to higher fares. But both airlines offer aggressive airfare sales almost weekly. We'll see fewer of these, and fares will inch up. Remember, though, that fares can only go so high before consumers stay home, drive, take the BoltBus, or Amtrak. One route that does overlap is Boston to Baltimore, which both airlines fly nonstop for $78 round-trip; but JetBlue flies the route at the same fare, so as long as there are two airlines flying nonstop on the route, prices will stay reasonable. (In fact, Baltimore probably has the most overlapping routes, so we expect fares to go up there.)

3. More fare pressure if other airlines continue the merger dance. American and US Air must be in panic mode as Southwest continues to grow. What next? An American/US Air marriage? Frontier/Midwest combine with USAir? JetBlue+American? The Southwest/Airtran merger came out of the blue, so anything and everything could be on the table.

4. This impacts Delta, at least at first, the most. Will Delta eliminate checked bag and ticket change fees on competing routes to/from/through Atlanta to compete with Southwest's fee model? Or will Southwest add fees? Airtran was a minor thorn in Delta's side, but Southwest is going be a major thorn. Airtran was not a particularly healthy airline financially, and Southwest is.

5. Southwest now becomes an international airline, if it keeps Airtran's routes to Aruba, the Bahamas, etc. It also becomes a multi-aircraft airline, if it keeps Airtran's Boeing 717's along with Southwest's 737 fleet.

6. Silver lining: as with all mergers of this kind, a plus is that if your flight is delayed or canceled you can now be re-routed over a much bigger route structure.

7. It's doubtful that Southwest will keep Airtran's business class cabins, instead moving the airline to Southwest's one-cabin model. Same for advance seat selection, which Airtran currently offers.

8. The merger should win speedy Justice Department and DOT approval, since there is virtually no route overlap between the two airlines.

--George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com

Fare of the Day: New York to London, UK

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Friday, September 24, 2010

New York to London, UK $557 round-trip, incl. all taxes

This fare is valid for Monday-Wednesday travel through March. Dates are limited.

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

Why first class might be your best option this holiday season

Planning to travel over the Christmas holidays? It's the question on everyone's lips: should I buy now or wait? Fares on some routes are breathtakingly high, higher than we've seen in years, for peak holiday travel, such as departing a few days before Dec. 25 and returning on the following Sunday or Monday. Example: we're seeing tax-included fares as high as in the $400's each way on some airlines on popular trans-continental routes, such as New York JFK to Los Angeles. Ouch!

And yet, if you look at seat maps when fare shopping, you'll notice that there are a lot of empty seats still. So what's going on here? Well, the airlines must be predicting that they'll sell those seats eventually. But will they? That's anyone's guess right now. It's possible that consumers will say "no thanks" and at the last minute airlines will find themselves with seats to get rid of quickly. This happened in 2009 and 2008, if memory serves us correctly. We simply do not know what will happen this year. If we did, we'd be a lot smarter than we are, and we'd probably also be able to predict next month's unemployment figures and GDP growth. And we'd be rich. We'll leave predictions to pundits who are braver than we are.

One thing we can tell you is that you'll do better fare-wise if you take connecting flights. And if you're reluctant to pay top dollar for a cramped coach seat, and at the same time would like to hedge your bets, you might consider booking a first class, refundable fare on US Airways. Right now, US is offering refundable first class fares on some routes for not a heck of a lot more than non-refundable, nonstop economy fares on so-called discount airlines. For example: New York LaGuardia one-way to Los Angeles LAX leaving on Dec 21, 22, or 23 is about $600 including tax on a fully-refundable fare in first class on US Air. A one-way, non-refundable economy fare New York JFK to LAX on the same dates via VirginAmerica, an airline we love, is running around $421 with tax. So for $180 more, you get first class and a fully flexible, refundable fare. And if coach fares do go down right before the holidays, you can cancel and nab an economy class fare with no penalty.

We've found similar comparisons on other routes as well, so while neither option is especially cheap, if you hate paying a lot for a middle seat in the back of the plane, and then paying $150 if you have to change your plans, then maybe paying $180 more for some comfort and no change fee isn't so bad. I'm flying New York-LA this Christmas, and I'm taking my own advice.

--George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com

You can add our fares to any web page or blog, for free, using RSS

Did you know that you can add airfarewatchdog.com fare data to any web page or news reader, for free, easily and quickly by using our handy RSS URLs? Dozens of airport web sites, news organizations, hotels, meeting planners, and convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) already do so! And why not? If you're an airport, of course you want people to fly more, and what better way than to show potential customers how cheap it is to fly. And if you're a CVB, you want people to visit your area, right? So show potential visitors low fares. Just makes darned good sense.

So here's how to do it:

Let's say you run the Jacksonville, Florida CVB and you want to show fares to the Jacksonville area. This is the URL to all Airfarewatchdog.com fares into the vicinity:

http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/rss/?airport=jax&direction=arrival

the "jax" is, of course, the three-letter code for the Jacksonville, FL airport. But let's say you wanted to add our fares out of New York's JFK airport. In that case, the RSS URL would read

http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/rss/?airport=jfk&direction=departure 

See the difference? To show fares leaving an area or airport, just change "arrival" to "departure" after "direction=".  Simple, eh?

Then, if you'd like to convert these RSS feeds into Javascript, simply use the handy, free RSS-to-Javascript software you'll find here. Then you can add our fares to any blog, web site, or RSS reader, such as Google Reader.

Here's an example of an airport web page using our RSS feeds (the Port Authority of NY&NJ's Stewart International)

Fare of the Day: New York to Manchester, UK

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, September 23, 2010

New York to Manchester $523 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Available on select dates for travel through March 30. Seats are scarce. Found via Orbitz and Travelocity.

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

Fare of the Day: Cleveland to Denver

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cleveland to Denver $139 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Seats are scarce (as in very scarce) but we did come across a few dates available in September, October, and November. Found via Travelocity.

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

Fare of the Day: Atlanta to Albuquerque

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Atlanta to Albuquerque $149 round-trip, incl. all taxes

Valid for travel on Monday through Thursday, with a 330-day travel period. Fares require a 14-day advance purchase.

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

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