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Airfare sales may stave off winter blues

By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN
updated 4:39 PM EST, Tue January 3, 2012
Travelers who can't face a full workweek might want to take advantage of discounted midweek flights.
Travelers who can't face a full workweek might want to take advantage of discounted midweek flights.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A handful of airlines are offering deals on midweek flights
  • Some fares are good through April or May
  • The best deals are for flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

(CNN) -- Never mind that you're probably still recovering from holiday travel and may have no interest in heading to another airport. Faced with a traditional post-holiday lull in travel, several airlines are hoping their New Year's sales will lure travelers back into the air at a discount.

"These deals have a lot to do with people not traveling after the holidays," says Anne Banas, executive editor of Smarter Travel. "They just spent a lot of money, they're tired and they're not thinking about going anywhere. So it's a very quiet time."

The best deals are on JetBlue, says Banas, noting that some of the airline's sale flights are to peak-season destinations in the Caribbean and Florida. The best fares are for midweek flights, so you'll need some flexibility.

JetBlue launched its "Holiday Recovery Sale" on Tuesday morning, offering one-way flights starting at $39 or 5,000 TrueBlue loyalty points. Book by January 4 for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 3. (Some blackout dates apply.)

"While we don't expect to see the traffic we did over the recent holiday period, weekends to Florida and to our many Caribbean destinations remain popular throughout the entire winter," says Allison Steinberg, a JetBlue spokeswoman. Visit the airline's website for more information.

Virgin America posted a three-day sale with one-way fares starting at $49 each way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Fares are slightly higher for Friday and Sunday travel. Seven-day advance purchase is required for the sale, which ends Thursday, January 5.

For some fares, travel must take place between January 10 and February 15. Other flights may take place between February 16 and May 9 (April 30 for Palm Springs flights). Additional information can be found at virginamerica.com.

AirTran (which is now owned by Southwest Airlines) is still having its own "New Year Travel Far and Near Sale." Tickets, which can be used for domestic travel through May 16, must be purchased by January 5, have a 10-day advance purchase requirement and are valid only for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Southwest is also having its weekly "Click and Save" fare sales, with some of the same restrictions. Southwest flights can't be used before January 13, and some blackout dates apply.

Frontier Airlines has a New Year's sale with one-way tickets starting at $39. Tickets must be purchased before January 12, and tickets are valid for one-way or round-trip travel through March 7 for flights operating Monday through Saturday. There is a seven-day advance purchase requirement and there are blackout dates.

Spirit Airlines is offering $35 and $50 off some flights, based on roundtrip purchase. Tickets must be purchased Tuesday, January 3.

Air France and Lufthansa are hoping to bundle you up and take you to Europe on a discount -- if you book your flight by January 12. Book on Air France and travel by March 25. Depart on Lufthansa between January 9 and March 22.

To include a hotel in your last-minute travels, try the 48-hour up-to-50%-off sale at Hotels.com. Book by January 4 for travel through February 7, 2012.

No surprise for all these deals: Additional restrictions, fees and taxes may apply, so read the fine print.

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