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Thanksgiving (and later) airfare sales

Some deals good only today or through Thursday.

By Teresa Mears Nov 18, 2009 12:22PM

If you decided at the last minute you’d like to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, you may get a pleasant surprise: A number of airlines have put tickets on sale for holiday travel.


Midwest is offering round-trip fares starting at $108, and Smarter Travel found that fare was being matched or beaten on most routes by AirTran, Frontier, Northwest, Continental, American, United, and Delta.


As always, the exact fare you’ll get depends on the flight you choose. Often, you can get a better deal flying on less popular days or at less popular times, such as early morning.


Southwest and United also are offering sale fares for the Thanksgiving holiday, though how good the deal is depends on where you’re going and exactly when you’re traveling. Tracy Stewart at AirfareWatchBlog doesn’t think much of the Southwest sale. “Would you pay $700 round-trip, before taxes, to fly from New York to Seattle for Thanksgiving? Puhleeez, we could get to Egypt for less than that.” She does note, however, that the sale offers good deals, especially for holiday travel, on a few routes.

But do check alternate travel dates. Travel surcharges for popular days are proliferating as quickly as airfare sales. Delta and Northwest have added a $50 surcharge for travel on Feb. 8, the day after the Super Bowl, Tom Parons’ Best Fares reports, and United, Delta and Northwest have raised their surcharge from $20 to $30 on some spring break travel dates. Check out this BestFares chart for the latest surcharge dates.


If you want to travel after the holidays, a number of airlines are still offering deals. JetBlue has fares starting at $29 each way, and AirTran and Virgin America have fares starting at $39 each way for some U.S. and Caribbean destinations. Flights must be booked by Thursday, Nov. 19, on AirTran and midnight PDT Wednesday, Nov. 18, for Virgin America.


Spirit Airlines has a one-day sale, good until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, with fares starting at $9 each way, plus a $35 off coupon with a promo code.


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