Deal Alert: Transcon fares plummet in December

Smaller airlines are concerned that they can't gain access to New York's airports. (Image: Jim Glab)

Low fares but high hotel prices in NYC this December (Image: Jim Glab)

Looking for a nice, easy trip during one of the slowest travel periods of the year? Maybe you are taking a mileage run? Then take a look at these fares for transcontinental trips (East, West coasts & Florida) during the first two weeks of December. 

Starting on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Nov 29) and running up until the Christmas holiday peak, fares are just $267 round trip on all carriers flying between San Francisco and New York City.

Fares are slightly higher at around $285 round trip between Los Angeles LAX and New York City, too. Any time I see a California-New York nonstops drop below $300 I know I’ve got a great deal on my hands.

And it’s not just California– lowest fares are running at about $282 between Seattle and New York, too on Delta, Alaska and JetBlue.

Google flights for trips Dec 5-Dec 12

Google Flights for SFO-JFK trips Dec 5-Dec 12

Caveat: Early December may be a cheap time to fly to NYC, but it’s not a cheap time to stay in a hotel there… those first few weeks of December when the first flurries fall and 5th Avenue gets all decked out in holiday splendor are super expensive at hotels. On early December weekends it’s tough to find a decent hotel for less than $500 per night. But everyone has a friend with a sofa-bed in NYC to stay with, right? 🙂

And for New Yorkers headed west, December is a fabulous and festive time to be in Wine Country. And in LA and SoCal, you can still go to the beach.

Delta SkyClub

Fly California to Atlanta to see Delta’s new Sky Club on Concourse B for less than $300 round trip (Photo: Chris Rank, Rank Studios)

SFO-Atlanta is super cheap in December, too. I’m looking at just $248 round trip on United’s ATL-SFO nonstops. Delta’s are higher, but still a bargain at about $313. If you are willing to chance it with Frontier on ATL-SFO, you can go for $197 roundtrip, but you’ll pay dearly for extras like checked bags.

And hold on… are you ready for it? You can fly nonstop between LAX and Atlanta during December for just $192 roundtrip on American! Delta is slightly higher at around $260 round trip.


Super low fares on ATL-LAX in December! Source: Google Flights

From LAX there’s even more! Check Google flights on LAX-Ft Lauderdale or LAX-Orlando and you’ll find roundtrip fares in the $200 (or less!) range. Vamos! 

NOTE: These fares are available on Google Flights Wednesday, Nov 2 and subject to change.

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Deal alert: $499 roundtrip to Asia on Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 777 can't fly to Singapore from the US (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Rock-bottom rates on flights to Seoul & Singapore on a B777 like this (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Say what? Round trip across the Pacific for less than $500? On Singapore Airlines?

Yep, and you found it here…and it’s only here on the blog: SFO to Seoul for $499, SFO to Singapore for $699.

TravelSkills has teamed up with Singapore Airlines on private sale that includes one the lowest transpacific fares I have ever seen: Just $499, including all taxes and fees, for roundtrips between San Francisco and Seoul on Singapore Airlines.

$499 for an 11,320-mile round trip. That works out to just four cents per mile!

And you are flying on one of the top-ranked airlines in the world to one of the world’s coolest, hippest, most up-and-coming destinations. (I’ll be writing more about the Seoul’s burgeoning food and hotel scene later this week!)

And the deal doesn’t end with SFO-Seoul. You can fly all the way to Singapore for just $100 more each way, so a total of just $699 roundtrip from SFO. Wait, what? 

Get this special deal here

Taking a look at the infinity pool atop the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore

Taking a look at the infinity pool atop the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore (Chris McGinnis)

I was in Singapore a couple years ago for BBC, and here’s what I saw– quite an amazing place! Hotels, like the Marina Bay Sands (pictured) are built to knock your socks off. The food scene, especially the outdoor “hawker stalls” are fun, healthy and super-diverse. If cold weather’s got you down, you’ll warm up in Singapore as its equatorial location means warm, tropical weather year-round. And Changi Airport itself is worthy of a trip! See this to find out exactly what I mean.

Seoul reminds me a lot of Tokyo— super modern and efficient. Wealthy. Clean. Gorgeous new hotels. A chic fashion-and-design-forward and super friendly population. Unusual food. And a nice climate in the Spring, which can range from 45-75 degrees F on average in March and April. Plus, Korea’s Cherry Blossom season in early April rivals what you see in Tokyo!

Get this special deal here

Unbelievable sights, sounds and flavors at Seouls indoor/outdoor food markets (Chris McGinnis)

Unbelievable sights, sounds and flavors at Seoul’s indoor/outdoor food markets (Chris McGinnis)

 A trip to either of these destinations would be an awesome way to spend a spring break vacation! 

UPDATE Feb 18: Response to this sale has been enormous, and many flights are now sold out. But if you are flexible with dates, you can still grab the deal.

Details of this exclusive offer are available to anyone using this link to our private sale:

  • Only available in economy class
  • The $499/$699 deal is only available via links found on this page
  • Book between now and February 21
  • Travel between March 1 and April 14
  • Not available on Fridays or Saturdays on outbound portion from SFO
  • Tickets are booked in K class, which earns 10% of miles flown in Singapore’s KrisFlyer program. K fares do not earn United MileagePlus or other airline miles

What’s so great about Singapore Airlines? It’s famous inflight service, of course! It also has more spacious 3-3-3 seating in economy class  while others have moved to a tighter 3-4-3 configuration. And there’s an unending supply of inflight entertainment via the Krisworld seatback system. (Don’t miss our Trip Report about Singapore’s renowned business class.)

Here’s a good video showing what it’s like to fly in economy class on Singapore Airlines between SFO and Seoul.

Seoul or Singapore for Spring Break? Why not? Conde Nast just wrote about Seoul’s coolest neighborhood.

Singapore Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 5.13.42 PM

Are you ready to book your trip? Here’s how!

Get this special deal here


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7 last-minute fare deals worth a look!

It's beach time in California this weekend! Temps could hit 80 degrees in Carmel, pictured here (Chris McGinnis)

It’s beach time in California this weekend! Temps could hit 80 degrees in Carmel, pictured here (Chris McGinnis)

Deal Alert! As usually happens at this cold dark time of year when we all feel like we’ve traveled enough, the industry responds with some pretty tantalizing “dead week” deals. The most alluring are those to warm weather destinations, but the best deals (and most seats) are to less balmy destinations.

If you have a hankering for a quick cheap getaway, consider these. And keep in mind that you must be flexible to get the best deals… like traveling on Tues or Weds. And you must book fast. Deals will not last for long. Scroll down for a look-see!

Who knows…maybe the airlines ARE giving us a price break since oil prices have plummeted….what do you think?

NOTE: All the deals below were found on Wednesday Jan 21 and subject to change and availability! 

Frontier's deals are not just from Atlanta, but these are good deals!

Frontier Airlines Three Day Sale


Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.29.58 AM

JetBlue #BreaktheIce sale – just $32 to 32 cities. Amazing: We just saw SFO-JFK for $32! Seriously! These WILL NOT LAST. Must book by today Jan 21 at 4 pm EST



Hawaiian Airlines Oakland to Maui for just $358 book by Jan 26



QANTAS fares reduced to just $1,250 roundtrip between LAX & Sydney/Melbourne; $1450 from NYC, $1550 from DFW. Book by Jan 28


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Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.45.19 AM

Virgin America Mood Lit Sale book by Thurs Jan 22


Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.50.00 AM

Delta’s sale fares are great right now

Delta sale Book by Jan 26


United last minute weekend specials


Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.00.24 AM

Alaska has some nice deals to Hawaii

Alaska Airlines sale is good system wide, but the deals from California to Hawaii are hard to beat. Aloha! 

Where might you go… or wish to go?

–Chris McGinnis

You MUST read the comments on this TravelSkills post: Wait…I have to sit where?

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Nationwide fare sale for winter trips

A Southwest Airlines 738 in new livery takes of from Midland, Texas (Photo: Felipe Garcia / Flickr)

A Southwest Airlines 737 in new livery takes of from Midland, Texas (Photo: Felipe Garcia / Flickr)

Today Southwest Airlines kicked off a significant sale for winter trips with some seriously good deals. As usual, we expect other carriers to begin matching this sale later today. (See below for updates.)

Round trip fares for trips in December, January and early February drop to as low as $99 round trip for short haul trips and then increase in four steps: $198, $248, and $298. (Peak holiday season is not included)

If you have winter travel plans, now’s the time to book…this sale lasts only three days: starting today, Tuesday, October 14 and running through Thursday, October 16, 11:59 p.m. for the respective time zone of the originating city.

This sale brings transcon (coast to coast) roundtrip fares below $300 for the first time we’ve seen in a while. For those in the Northeast, fares to Florida are below $200 round trip. Most intra-California roundtrips are $99. Fares from across the country to Denver are nice a cheap if you are interested in a winter ski vacation.

Some examples of the low roundtrip all-in fares on offer:

  • Atlanta- Washington National or New York LGA: $198
  • San Francisco-Atlanta: $298
  • Las Vegas-Oakland/San Francisco/LAX: $99
  • Baltimore/Washington – San Diego: $298
  • Oakland/San Francisco-Denver: $198
  • Chicago/New York: $198
  • Phoenix-Oakland/San Francisco $198
  • Seattle-San Diego: $198

For a full list of these special fares, visit

These low fares are good for flights December 3 through December 17, 2014 and then January 6 through February 11. They are good for travel every day of the week except Fridays and Sundays. As usual, there are only a few seats on each flight at the lowest fares. Early bird gets the worm!

This sale is good for flights during what’s known in the biz as the “dead weeks” when travel demand plummets to annual lows– this means that hotel and car rental costs are also at annual lows, so it’s a great time to take a cheap trip. It’s also a good time to get home and see the family if peak holiday season fares have priced you out of the market.

New: Sign up for a new credit card and you could get a FREE trip home for the holidays… 

For business travelers who have not been able to get out and see clients due to this year’s extraordinarily high fares, this is a great opportunity save by traveling when most folks are staying at home. You can take off for a quick visit just before Christmas or drop by during the cold dark months of January and February.

As usual, other airlines will likely match this Southwest sale, so keep an eye on their websites over the next 24 hours as fares are loaded. We’ll monitor fare matching over the next 48 hours and post results here on TravelSkills.


>JetBlue is matching fares for November & December trips only

>United is now matching most of these fares

>American launched a sale good for flights through Mar 6, but fares are not as low

>Delta has matched some of these fares

-Chris McGinnis

Here’s the fine print from Southwest:

Purchase from Oct. 14-16, 201411:59 p.m. for the respective time zone of the originating city. Travel December 3 through December 17, 2014 and January 6 through February 11, 2015. Travel to/from San Juan, Puerto Rico valid Dec. 3-11, 2014 and Jan. 13 through Feb. 11, 2015. Travel valid every day except Fridays and Sundays. Travel to Florida or Nevada is valid Sunday through Wednesday only.  Additionally, travel from Florida or Nevada is valid Tuesday through Fridayonly. Travel between Nevada and Florida is valid on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. Some flights operated by AirTran® Airways. Fares valid on nonstop service only. Displayed prices include all U.S. and international government taxes and fees. Seats are limited. Fares may vary by destination, flight, and day of week and won’t be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times and holiday periods. Travel is available for one-way Wanna Get Away Fares. Fares may be combined with other Southwest Airlines combinable fares. If combining with other fares, the most restrictive fare’s rules apply. Sale fares may be available on other days of week, but not guaranteed. Fares are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines, so long as you cancel your reservations at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight. Failure to cancel prior to departure will result in forfeiture of remaining funds on the reservation.  Any change in itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Standby travel requires an upgrade to the Anytime Fare. Fares are subject to change until ticketed.  Offer applies to published, scheduled service only.

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Southwest launches big fare sale


Southwest Airlines has launched a nationwide sale offering some eye-poppingly good deals for fall and winter travel. How about SFO to Chicago  and back for just $175 all in? Oakland to Denver for just $150? Or SFO all the way to Atlanta and back for less than $200? These are just a few samples of hundreds of really good deals on offer.



BUT, there’s a catch, as always… so don’t get your hopes up for a great deal during the peak holiday travel season. The fares are only good during what I call the “dead weeks.” These are the slowest travel days of the year—Wednesday, November 28 through Wednesday, December 12, 2012, and then again from Monday, Jan. 7 through Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013



These fares are excellent choices for business travelers who can schedule their meetings during these dips in demand when fares plummet.

They are also good for those who cannot afford peak holiday pricing and don’t mind postponing family visits or vacations.

They are also great options for skiers headed to the Rockies if the snow is not up to snuff in the Sierra in January.

Here are the details:

>Book your trip at by midnight on Thursday October 11, 2012. Note that Southwest and AirTran launched this fare sale today… and you can count on other airlines matching the sale later today with similar fares on competitive routes.

>To get these deals, you must enter the discount code BigDeal40 in the Promo Code box on or in order to receive the discount.

>Act fast. The sale is good for travel Wednesday, November 28 through Wednesday, December 12, 2012, and then again from Monday, Jan. 7 through Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 (Not good on Sundays and certain other blackout dates). The cheapest seats will sell out fast.

>Here are all the terms and conditions for Southwest.

A similar sale, but without the gimmicky discount code is also underway at Southwest subsidiary AirTran—check sale fares at

>by Chris McGinnis

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