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Airlines launch fall fare battle

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  July 19, 2011 11:05 AM

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Looking to travel this fall? I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, after writing about sales from Southwest, AirTran, and JetBlue, that we were entering the fall sale period. Today, both JetBlue and Southwest announced discounts for travel through the fall, but there is some difference in terms.

The JetBlue sale is a 48-hour deal so you must book before midnight Wednesday July 20 for travel from Sept. 6-Nov. 16. Discounts are not available on all days or flights; blackout dates are Oct. 6-11. Here is the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston: to Baltimore, $39; Washington, (Dulles), New York City (JFK), Pittsburgh, and Newark, N.J. $44; Washington, DC (Reagan) $49; Chicago (O'Hare) $52; Richmond, Va., and Bufffalo, N.Y. $54; Raleigh-Durham, N.C. $69; Charlotte, N.C. $74; Jacksonville, Fla., $84; Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tampa, and Bermuda $99; Denver, San Juan, P.R., and New Orleans $119; Austin and Phoenix $129; Long Beach and Los Angeles $149; San Jose, Calif., $159; San Diego and San Francisco $169; and Seattle $179.

Southwest sale prices are available for purchase until Aug. 2 for travel between Aug. 23-Dec. 14. Black out dates include all Fridays and Sundays as well as Sept. 1-5 and Nov. 17-29. Here is the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston: Philadelphia $39; Baltimore $59; Pittsburgh $89; Denver $119; Chicago $134; Kansas City $156; Oklahoma City $179; and St. Louis $149.

You'll notice the JetBlue fares are better, but they are only available through tomorrow and only through the JetBlue website --- in other words you won't find these prices on Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, or any of the others. Also note that it's likely other carriers will be looking to match -- or better --- some prices of some competitive routes so it could pay to shop around.

UPDATE 11:48 a.m.

AirTran, which was recently acquired by Southwest, has also sprung a fall sale. For this one, you must book by Aug. 1 for travel to most destinations July 30-Nov. 16., with lowest fares available for travel Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A 10-day advance purchase required, and blackout dates are July 29 and 31; and Aug. 5, 7, 12, 14 and 21. Here's the fine print and some sample one-way fares from Boston: Atlanta and Newport News/Williamsburd, Va., $84; Akron/Canton, Dayton, Memphis, Pensacola/Gulf Coast, Richmond, and Sarasota/Bradenton $94; Flint and Grand Rapids Mich., and Miami $99; Bloomington/Normal, Ind., and Charlotte $104; Bermuda and Nassau $109; Wichita $114; Cancun and Rochester, N.Y., $119; Montego Bay and Branson, Mo., $129; Key West $134; Huntsville, Ala., $144; San Juan, P.R. $149; Des Moines $159; and Aruba $164.


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