Ready to fly again? Southwest launches annual fall fare sale, with one-way tickets starting at $39
Many U.S. airlines including American, Southwest, United, Delta, Alaska, Frontier and JetBlue have announced passengers must wear masks while flying. USA TODAY
Southwest Airlines typically has two major fare sales a year, in June and October.
The airline launched this year's June sale on Tuesday, a few weeks later than normal, but there's an upside for travelers: Starting fares are lower than in recent years, given the coronavirus pandemic that has crushed travel demand.
The nation's largest domestic carrier said one-way fares begin at $39, compared with $49 last year and in 2018. On longer flights, it is touting sale fares of $79 and $99 each way, but fares vary widely by route and travel date.
The three-day sale generally covers travel between Aug. 11 and Dec. 17, excluding travel around Thanksgiving. Last year's sale also blacked out Labor Day weekend travel, but this one does not.
The biggest fine print beyond that: Sale fares are generally not available on Fridays and Sundays, ruling out traditional weekend getaways. More days of the week are blacked out for flights to and from Las Vegas and Florida, popular vacation destinations.
Where can I fly for $39?
Here's a sampling of sale routes. Travelers can search fares from their departing airport(s) on the airline's website.Another way to search: use the airline's low-fare calendar for dates with the cheapest rates.
- Baltimore to/from Charlotte, Charleston, Detroit, Hartford
- Chicago to from/Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati
- Phoenix to/from Las Vegas, Albuquerque, San Diego
- Houston to/from New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Antonio
- Detroit to Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis
Competing airlines generally match Southwest's sales, so travelers in the mood to fly should shop around for the best deals and routes.
Like all airlines, Southwest has taken extensive measures to convince travelers that it's safe to fly. The airline recently said it will leave middle seats open through Sept. 30. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not relaxed its guidelines about travel during the pandemic, noting that coronavirus cases and deaths have been reported in all 50 states.
"Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying 真人百家家乐官网网站home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick,'' the agency says on its website.
Despite the guidelines, Southwest and other airlines have reported an uptick in travel demand as summer vacation season kicked off. One indicator: The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 600,000 passengers and airport and airline employees on Monday for the first time since mid-March. That is still down 78% from a year ago but up from a low of 87,534 in mid-April.