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Lower Fall Fares are in the Air

In the airfare space, it’s been a summer of good news/bad news.

Let's start with the bad news. This summer has been slim pickings for aggressive fare sales. The deals we saw last year just aren’t as prevalent this year. If this has been frustrating for you, we feel your pain. But let's take a step back and make sure that we understand why summer fares have been so high.
Airlines have reduced capacity this year. This basically means there are fewer seats available to purchase. In the short term, the airlines are getting the desired effect -- higher fares for the remaining seats. That, combined with the fact that summer fares have always been traditionally higher, creates the perfect storm for hard-to-find deals.

Now, let's talk about the silver lining to this dark and ominous summertime cloud. Several airlines -- including heavy hitters like American, United, JetBlue, AirTran and Virgin America -- have been aggressively discounting fall fares recently. The fall is what we consider a "shoulder-season" (the time between peak season and low season) and one of the best times to score that "brag to your friends" deal. Whether you're looking to travel domestically, to Europe, or any number of other destinations, right now happens to be an incredible time to book a fall trip.

We're seeing fares like $44 each way from Orlando to Nassau; $49 each way Boston to New York City and $69 each way Seattle to San Francisco.

Here are just a few tips to help you locate, evaluate, and congratulate yourself on getting the deal of the year:

  • Look at our airfare sections to see what destinations are currently on sale and which airlines are discounting.
  • Be as flexible as possible with your routes and dates. Plan a trip based on what's on sale.
  • Typically the best air deals are for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday travel. If you can fly on at least one of those days of the week, you’ll save big over Friday or Sunday prices.
  • Only compare the "out-the-door" total airfare price. Many times, the lead fare doesn't include all the various taxes and fees.
  • Make sure you're factoring in other costly fees like checked bags (different airlines have different charges).
  • When you do locate a deal, don’t wait. Fares are constantly changing and that $39 flight to Vegas isn't going to book itself.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Miami
Monday, July 19, 2010
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Matthew Rehm