Tis’ the season for jaw-dropping last-minute fare sales from airlines. Yesterday, JetBlue offered round trip fares between San Francisco and Las Vegas or Long Beach for as little as $19 one way. Today, the fare has increased to about $39 each way, which is still a very good deal. Another crazy deal? American Airlines is offering $100 round trip fares between New York Kennedy and San Juan.
These super low fares are good examples of JetBlue’s (and all airlines’) strategy of dumping unsold inventory at super low prices during the slow fall months. It’s the time when kids are back in school, parents are back at work and there’s not much interest in flying. In the travel biz, this is what’s known as the “shoulder season” and it’s always a great time for bargain hunters with the flexibility to drop everything and go when a deal pops up.
In the case of JetBlue, it’s a relatively small player in the Bay Area, and not the first airline that comes to mind when you think of flying to Las Vegas or Southern California. This type of “flash sale” helps them gain mindshare (and not fly empty planes!). Keep in mind that the very best deals with this sale are those that have passengers departing and returning on mid-week. If you want to fly down and back for the weekend, you’ll pay $200-$300.
A JetBlue spokesperson told TravelSkills: “Flash Fares are something we do from time to time, offering amazing deals on select flights and dates. The fares are subject to availability and for a limited time. For those watching @JetBlue or @JetBlueCheeps on Twitter, or our Facebook account though, there are some great deals for those that can act fast!”
The Bay Area to Las Vegas market is highly competitive these days. We’ve seen similar crazy low fares (just $58 round trip) between Oakland and Las Vegas, which just entered the market last month. Southwest, Virgin America, Spirit, United are all in the market and frequently match these low fares.
Here’s another example of crazy low fares: This morning, American Airlines has $100 round trip fares between New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico for those willing to fly midweek during October. (That’s a whopping 3,200 miles round trip!)
Keep an eye on TravelSkills, or follow the social media accounts of the airlines to stay abreast of these last minute deals. We are in for some very good deals between now and Thanksgiving when shoulder season ends and fares go back up. The next time you’ll see crazy low last minute fares will be during the “dead weeks” of early January- and we’ll have ’em here!
Happy fare hunting!
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