First fall/winter fare sale announced

(Photo: Chris McGinnis)

(Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Southwest Airlines announced a three-day, nationwide fare sale today that will likely be matched by most other airlines across the country within 24 hours.

The prices are decent, but these fares are not available on key dates around the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years season. (See fare chart below.) Today, Travelocity reported that holiday airfares are 7% higher than last year’s holiday season…and last year was expensive.

These fares only apply to trips during the so-called “dead weeks” in early December and early January-February. They do not include travel on busy Fridays and Sundays.

However, if you have the flexibility to travel during the dead weeks, these fares represent good value. Here’s why:

>They are perfect for business travelers who may want to visit a client one last time this year, or early next year.

>They offer some good opportunities for end-of-year “mileage runners” hoping to gain or maintain elite status.

>They are also a nice break for flexible fliers who may not be able to shell out the big bucks for overpriced flights on key dates around the holidays.

>If you are planning to ski this year, Southwest offers plenty of great deals to cities near western ski resorts.

Look for similar fares (with identical restrictions) to pop up on other carriers within one or two days, so be sure to shop around. Increasingly, Southwest does not always offer the lowest fare in any given market. 

Here’s the Southwest fine print.

These low fares are available for purchase on southwest.com starting Tuesday, Oct 8 through Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 11:59 p.m. for the respective time zone of the originating city, for travel every day of the week except Fridays and Sundays, Dec. 4 through Dec. 18, 2013, and Jan. 7 through Feb. 12, 2014. For travel up to 500 miles, fares are $49 one-way. For travel 501 to 1,000 miles, fares are $99 one-way.  For travel 1,001 to 1,500 miles, fares are $129 one-way.  For travel 1,501 plus miles, fares are $149 one-way.

 Route Thanksgiving Peak: Nov 27-Dec 1 roundtrips Dead Week Deal: Dec 11-14 roundtrips
SFO-New York JFK $680 $332
SFO-Chicago $547 $292
OAK-Seattle $415 $178
SFO-Denver $445 $197
SFO-Los Angeles $198 $98

(Notes:  Nonstop fares searched on Southwest.com & Kayak.com on Oct 8, 2014 and subject to availability and change.)

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Chris McGinnis

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