Now's the time to book that airplane ticket


The last posting I wrote was what bargain destination I was going to spend my hard-earned frequent-flier miles on (I'm leaning toward Iceland). But for those of you without a pile of miles (or cash), you can still score a great deal on airfares right now.

A survey of recent airfares for USA Today found that prices are down more than 50 percent from a year ago, and way cheaper than last summer, when fuel surcharges abounded. How about Florida for Spring Break? A $139 ticket on Delta Air Lines or AirTran Airways from Atlanta to Tampa now hovers around $200, 56 percent less expensive than last year's cheapest fare. For a family of four, that translates into nearly $800 in savings on a round trip this year. A Tuesday flight (one of the cheapest days) from Denver to Los Angeles this month is currently $139 on United, American and Frontier Airlines-that's $150 cheaper than a year ago.

The most notable thing about these deals is that they're not just for winter travel, typically the slowest season. Bargains are also available for travel until at least mid-May. That's good timing for those looking for a Spring Break trip to warmer locales (unfortunately, Hawaii airfares are rising in price, but that's the only domestic destination that is). Even though airlines are desperately trying to fill seats, travel experts are saying the same old thing: Book now and Book quick. The bargain fares will supposedly evaporate by July.