The NFL regular season kicks off this Sunday for most teams. Are you brave enough to buy a flight to New Orleans now?
Some fans just don't want to be left on the sidelines as their team marches toward the Lombardi Trophy.
We used Fly.com to find cheap flights to New Orleans, the host of the 2013 Super Bowl, from the 32 cities that are home to NFL teams.
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. Even five months ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2013, fares generally aren't very low. Most domestic airfare sales are still focusing on fall travel, so we wouldn't expect fares to drop for February travel until later in the year. That said, when January and February flights do start to go on sale, we'd expect that 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. In order to find the best deal, try these tips:
Based on early returns, we'll set the over/under for a good deal at $350 roundtrip.
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.)
$0: Saints -- It pays to be the hometown team.
$220 nonstop from Atlanta: Falcons -- A playoff team last year, Falcons fans may find the lowest fares to the Big Easy of anyone, although not necessarily the easiest road.
$318 1-stop from Charlotte: Panthers -- Division rivals of the Saints and Falcons, Panthers fans are hoping second-year QB Cam Newton can do it.
$325 nonstop from Denver: Broncos -- Nonstop flights from Frontier make it relatively cheap for Broncos fans to visit the boyhood home of new QB Peyton Manning.
$332 1-stop from New York: Giants & Jets -- If Giants QB (and Peyton brother) Eli Manning can lead the defending champion back to the Super Bowl, it will also be a homecoming. Jets fans can also line up a pretty good fare now and plan to Tebow their way through the French Quarter.
$332 1-stop from Tampa: Buccaneers -- Oddsmakers don't give the Bucs much of a Super Bowl chance, but the fares we found are worth a look.
$340 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.
For the rest of the league's fans, we found a $150-$200 premium over the lowest current fares.
$358 1-stop from Indianapolis: Colts
$362 1-stop from Dallas: Cowboys -- Off to a good start at 1-0, it's worth watching fares at this American Airlines hub to see if they go down. Dallas generally has some of the less expensive fares into New Orleans.
$363 1-stop from Phoenix: Cardinals
$366 1-stop from Boston: Patriots -- A perennial contender, Tom Brady fans may already be buying tickets and packing their carry-on bags.
$370 1-stop from Kansas City: Chiefs
$370 1-stop from Jacksonville; Jaguars
$376 1-stop from Philadelphia: Eagles
$382 1-stop from Buffalo: Bills
$385 1-stop from St. Louis: Rams
$388 1-stop from Cincinnati: Bengals
$390 1-stop from Nashville: Titans
$396 1-stop from Baltimore: Ravens
$399 1-stop from Detroit: Lions
$403 1-stop from Pittsburgh: Steelers
$404 1-stop from Cleveland: Browns
$405 1-stop from Chicago: Bears -- A major airline hub for United, American and Southwest, fares may go down once sales come into the market. It remains to be seen if the Bears will go down to the Big Easy.
$412 1-stop from Washington, D.C.: Redskins
$415 1-stop from San Diego: Chargers -- LAX or Orange County could be alternative options for Bolts fans who think lightning will strike in New Orleans.
$424 1-stop from Minneapolis: Vikings
$466 1-stop from Seattle: Seahawks
$507 1-stop from San Francisco: 49ers and (Oakland) Raiders -- It's worth it for Raiders fans to cross the Bay to book this flight, although it's still not cheap.
$592 2-stop from Green Bay: Packers -- Considered a Super Bowl favorite by many prognosticators, hard-core Pack fans may want to look at flights out of Madison, Minneapolis or Milwaukee to save some green.
Enjoy the season and don't forget to check our Today's Best Fares section to see if prices to the Big Easy offer up big savings.
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