Airfares on Sale for Summer and Fall

You can grab sale airfares for travel this summer and fall, but you need to book today.

AirTran Airways, the low-cost carrier, got the ball rolling on the quick-sale, discounting all its destinations, with fares from $49 for specific routes. Other carriers including American, Delta and Southwest, quickly matched, putting fares on sale too. And Virgin America is doing a version of the sale as well.

What's particularly significant about the deals is AirTran, American and Delta are including the summer travel period, typically the strongest for the airlines. Fall sales, after the kids go back to school, are more common.

The carriers went into this summer with fares 10 to 14 percent higher than last year, according to industry watcher George Hobica of But those higher fares haven't booked up.

"The airlines are crying uncle," Hobica says. "They are discounting slow days."

"The airlines know summer travel plans have already been made so they are trying to appeal to last-minute travelers. The summer is not what they hoped for," Hobica adds. "It's about unemployment. If people were working (the carriers) wouldn't be having a summer sale."

Most of the sale fares need to be booked by the end of the day today, with the lowest fares for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Sundays, though there are deals for other days of the week as well.

The AirTran sale requires a 10-day advance purchase and is good for travel until Nov. 16. Sample one-way fares are Atlanta to Chicago (Midway) $69, Baltimore to Nassau (Bahamas) $99, Boston to Baltimore $49, Orlando to San Juan $74, and Philadelphia to Orlando $84.

Book today with Delta and you can snag a fare from $49 to $144 that's also good for travel through Nov. 16, though there is a blackout period from July 25-Aug. 1. A roundtrip purchase is required. Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale or Miami is priced from $138, Atlanta to Charlotte or Minneapolis to Milwaukee is from $98.

American's sale fares are from $69 to $244 each way and also need to be booked today. A 10-day advance purchase is required. Travel through Nov. 16. Sample sale routes are Atlanta to Chicago and Miami to Atlanta, from $138 roundtrip.

Southwest's sale covers Sept. 7 to Nov. 15, with one-way fares from $49 to $149. The sale fares are available every day except Friday and Saturday. Routes for the lowest fare include Boston to Baltimore, Denver to Albuquerque and Chicago to Cleveland, all from $49 each way.

Virgin America's sale fares have a longer booking window – you have until July 12 to make your purchase. The one-way fares are from $59, for San Francisco to Los Angeles. Fly cross country from New York to San Francisco from $149. The fares are good for travel Aug. 25 to Nov. 17. The fares are for travel Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

All the sale fares are for a limited number of seats.

Photo, Cliff1066, flickr

For More on the Sale Fares and Hot 5 Travel Deals click here.

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