The NFL regular season is over, and the playoff field is set. So which fans have the cheapest flights to the Super Bowl?
At the beginning of the season, we looked at fares to New Orleans -- so that superfans could lock in their Super Bowl fares early. With the field now narrowed to 12, here's an update for fans that don't want to be left on the sidelines as their team marches toward the Lombardi Trophy.
We used Fly.com to find the cheapest flights to New Orleans, the home of the 2013 Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
A few ground rules before we start:
1. Because New Orleans is not one of the country's larger airports, there are fewer nonstop options. Many of the flights we found with the cheapest pricing are one-stop flights.
2. Most flights into New Orleans around the Super Bowl (or Mardi Gras the following weekend) will be blacked out on the most attractive dates.
3. Don't expect a flight deal to suddenly materialize on Jan. 21 after the Super Bowl teams are set.
4. In order to find the best deal, try these tips:
Back in September, we set the over/under for a good deal at $350 roundtrip. That appears to be a good baseline again, as half of the playoff fares we found were over and half were under.
Here's the fans that may have some money left over for a hurricane or two at Pat O'Brien's after booking a flight. (Please note: We're travel deal experts, not football experts. These aren't football picks.)
$208 nonstop from Houston: Texans -- A rising team that made its first playoff appearance last year, Texans fans also have one of the shorter (and cheaper) flights.
$246 1-stop from Denver: Broncos -- The AFC's top seed, the Broncos and their fans won't be traveling unless they earn a Super Bowl berth. Competition between United and Frontier leads to relatively reasonable fares out of the MIle High City for Broncos fans planning to visit the boyhood home of QB Peyton Manning. We also found nonstop flights for $294 roundtrip.
$297 nonstop from Atlanta: Falcons -- The top seed in the NFC, the Falcons will have home field until the playoffs, allowing confident fans to save up for a flight to the Big Easy. Since Atlanta is a hub for both Delta and AirTran, fans here also have the most flight options.
$312 1-stop from Boston: Patriots -- A perennial contender, Tom Brady fans may already be buying tickets and packing tri-corner hats in their carry-on bags. For those wishing to spend more time in New Orleans before the game, we found a $217 one-stop flight from Jan. 30 - Feb. 6.
$315 1-stop from Baltimore: Ravens -- Ravens fans are hoping that Ray Rice can carry them to the Super Bowl, but they'll need these fares to fly there. The good news: It's $80 less than when we checked in September. Fares from Jan. 30 - Feb. 6 are slightly cheaper, at $224 roundtrip for a one-stop flight.
$345 nonstop from Washington, D.C.: Redskins -- Behind rookie star Robert Griffin III, the Redskins have returned to the title hunt and are one of the league's hottest teams entering the playoffs. Thanks to fares that are $70 cheaper than September, fans can score a flight down to New Orleans for less. One-stop flights from Jan. 30 - Feb. 6 are available for $252 roundtrip.
$373 1-stop from Cincinnati: Bengals -- The bottom seed in the AFC, these cats may have a tough road to New Orleans. This roundtrip fare includes a nonstop return. Flights from Columbus and Louisville offer similar pricing, if those airports are more convenient for fans.
$385 1-stop from Indianapolis: Colts -- The Colts had (Andrew) Luck on their side this year, earning a wild card spot with the rookie at quarterback. No nonstop flights are available on this route, but scoring a flight for under $400 should have fans feeling lucky.
$388 1-stop from Minneapolis: Vikings -- Even the powerful legs of Adrian Peterson can't carry all of the Vikings fans down to New Orleans. We also found nonstops for about $50 more.
$398 1-stop from Seattle: Seahawks -- The potent Seahawks will be on the road until the Super Bowl. If they can make it to the big game, current fares are in the $400 range.
$429 1-stop from Green Bay: Packers -- Fares are now $163 less from Green Bay to New Orleans than in September. Hard-core Pack fans looking to save even more green should look at flights out of Milwaukee, currently $286 roundtrip.
$486 1-stop from San Francisco: 49ers -- When we checked in September, fares from San Francisco were among the most expensive. This is still the case, and flying out of Oakland or San Jose won't offer any savings for fans of this team.
Enjoy the playoffs and don't forget to check our Today's Best Fares section to see if prices to the Big Easy offer up big savings.