It’s Cheap Flight Day! Check out these deals out of Austin

Cheap Flight Day has arrived, and with it, so have some deals. What’s Cheap Flight Day, you ask? It’s the day that marks the start of the fall travel season, when airlines typically lower prices on many if not most of their routes. Fares for both domestic and international flights can drop by 20 percent or more and stay low through early November.

Commercial Airline Comes In For Landing In Florida
A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. credit: Getty Images

A quick search shows some strong deals out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Here’s a sample of what’s available in terms of domestic flights:

  • Frontier Airlines is offering $29 one-way fares to Denver and Las Vegas. The offer is for Saturday-Wednesday travel between Aug. 30 and Feb. 8 and excludes holidays, but if you play with your dates you can find some excellent availability. For example, I found a round-trip Saturday-Tuesday flight to Denver Dec. 10-13 — ski season — for $94.20. (Remember, however, that Frontier charges extra for certain seating and baggage, so the cost could be higher depending on your specifications.) The airline is also promoting $89 one-way fares to Orlando and $94 one-way fares to Philadelphia. Click here to view all deals.
  • Southwest Airlines also has deals to numerous cities from Austin, including $97 one-way fares to New York (Newark), $129 one-way fares to Seattle and $119 one-way fares to Nashville. Click here for the full list.
  • JetBlue is another airline to consider, with $99 one-way fares from Austin to Long Beach, Calif., and $83 one-way fares from Austin to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The airline is also advertising $92 one-way fares from New York to Bermuda. Click here for a complete list.

There are also plenty of strong deals for international travel:

  • Among the flights I found out of Austin for international travel: $620.36 round-trip to Beijing on Delta (traveling Sept. 8-15); $322 round-trip to Montreal on American (traveling Sept. 7-13); and $312 round-trip to Mexico City on American (traveling Sept. 17-21).
  • If you expand to include departures out of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, you’ll find even more options. I used google.com/flightsairefarewatchdog.com and kayak.com to find a lot of these deals.
  • Wow Air, which has gained a reputation for its super low fares to ever-popular Iceland as well as some other European destinations, has some excellent fares to Europe. For example, I found a round-trip fare from Boston to Stockholm Nov. 27-Dec. 2 for $298.99. Sure, you have to get to Boston, but that can be done from Austin on many airlines for under $200. Wow Air and Icelandair are both excellent low-cost options if you’re considering a trip to Iceland.

That’s just a sample of what I found during a quick search. If you do a little digging, chances are good you’ll find even more. Happy Cheap Flight Day!

Today is Cheap Flight Day: What you need to know

If you’re not a frequent traveler, Aug. 23 may have no special significance, but for those of us who spend a lot of time in the sky, it’s even better than Black Friday. That’s because Aug. 23, aka Cheap Flight Day, marks the start of the fall travel season and is the day that airlines typically drop fares on many if not most of their routes. Here are some answers to common questions about Cheap Flight Day and some tips on getting the best fares out of Austin.

Why Aug. 23? By Aug. 23, the majority of kids have gone back to school and the demand for leisure travel decreases a lot. Airlines know this, so they drop fares by 20 percent or more.

Does this apply to international flights? Yes! You’ll see a drop in fares for international as well as domestic flights.

RGZ tarmac delays 04
Austin travelers are likely to see better deals on airfare starting Aug. 23. credit: RODOLFO GONZALEZ/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN


What are the best days to fly to get a good fare?

Traditionally, traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays will get you the best deals, but that can vary widely depending on where and when you’re going.

What happens if I don’t book on Aug. 23? No worries. Cheap Flight Day should really be called Cheap Flight Season, because the reduced fares will continue to be available (and could even drop more) through early November.

How far in advance of my trip should I book? Book at least 30 days ahead.

Where can I go on the cheap in the next few months?  Great question. Here’s a sample of some deals I found out of Austin in September and October:

  • Austin to Denver, traveling Sept. 21-24: $78.20 roundtrip on Frontier Airlines. (Note: Frontier is a low-cost airline that charges extra for seats, luggage, etc. This fare is for a free middle seat with only a small carry-on; if you have other specifications, you’ll pay more.)
  • Austin to Chicago O’Hare, traveling Oct. 15-19: $96.20 roundtrip on United Airlines.
  • Austin to Montreal, traveling Sept. 7-13: $322 roundtrip on American Airlines.
  • Austin to Beijing, traveling Sept. 8-15: $620.36 roundtrip on Delta.

What sites can help me find good deals? If you want to get out of town but don’t care where you’re going, try using airfarewatchdog.com. You can enter your departure city and it will give you a list of places where you can travel for cheap. I also like kayak.com, hipmunk.com and travelzoo.com. And be sure to sign up for weekly alerts and last-minute deal alerts on the major airline websites, including flyfrontier.com/ways-to-save/online-dealstravel.southwest.com/specialoffers and united.com/web/en-US/apps/booking/specials/default.aspx.

What are some other tips for finding deals this fall?

  • Don’t forget to include Houston and Dallas as possible departure cities in your searches, especially for international travel. It can be worth the drive if you can score a low fare.
  • Consider booking a trip to a place where you can access a national park, as it’s the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and there are lots of park-related deals to be found.
  • Be flexible with your dates. You know how most airlines offer a calendar view that allows you to see all of the fares to a particular destination for the month? If you have some wiggle room in terms of when you travel, book according to the lowest fare.

 

Follow along with the Mongol Derby

In the Mongol Derby, named the longest horse race in the world by the “Guinness Book of World Records,” competitors ride semi-wild horses through the unfamiliar Mongolian wilderness. According to the Adventurists, the U.K.-based company that organizes the race, the “exact course changes each year and is kept secret until shortly before the launch.”

CK on Berlioz
Austin native Courtney Kizer participated in The Doubloon SoCo Endurance Ride, pictured, and is now competing in the equestrian endurance race called The Mongol Derby. credit: Amber Huff

During the race, participants navigate to horse stations every 25 miles, battle the elements, sleep in yurts, all while riding about 30 unpredictable horses in less than 10 days.

This year’s race kicked off on Aug. 4 and includes native Austinite Courtney Kizer, 29, who has been riding horses since she was 6 years old. Before she left, Kizer sought advice from everyone from ultramarathon runners to former derby participants. “They’ve all been telling me that there’s this huge emotional roller coaster that goes with doing something like this,” she says. “And it’s just about holding on and knowing that there will be crying.”

Read more about Kizer here. You can also track her progress in the Mongol Derby here.

 

This Austin-based British Airways video will give you all the feels

Mandy Shore, 71, was raised by adoptive parents in the United Kingdom and has always wondered about her biological family. After using Ancestry to research her history, she learned that she has two sisters, Lynn, 65, and Ann, 61, in the Austin area.

Handout photos of the British Airways 787 aircraft, which is being used in the airline’s Austin-to-London direct flight, which began March 3, 2014.Credit: British Airways
British Airways recently helped reunite three sisters. Credit: British Airways

A video released this morning by British Airways and Ancestry tells the story of these three sisters and captures their first meeting, just in time for National Sisters Day, which is, apparently, Sunday. The video was shot primarily at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

“We want to get our fingers together, because we’ve all got the same fingers,” Mandy says in the video, referring to the women’s shared crooked index fingers.

Yes, the video is an ad. Yes, it’s also compelling.

According to a release from British Airways, the airline heard about the sisters and offered to fly Lynn and Ann from Austin to London so they could meet Mandy.

It shows Lynn and Ann boarding the plane in Austin, then introduces a twist: The airline has secretly flown Mandy to Austin in advance and she’s already on board the plane, waiting to surprise her sisters!

“It hasn’t hit me yet, I don’t think, properly, you know, not until I actually see them,” Mandy tells the camera. “Then I’m going to just be a mess I suspect. Every so often I think I’m here, I’m here, wow, I’m in Texas. It’s been so long waiting and now I’ve come here, I can’t believe it. It’s just amazing.”

Once on board, Lynn and Ann are instructed by a flight attendant to turn around. Mandy is there!

Surprised faces. Dramatic music. Tears. Ann, Lynn and Mandy are reunited at last!

It’s an ad, but it works. Watch the video here.

In honor of the video, British Airways is launching a “fly and drive” offer that includes flights and five days of car rentals in the United Kingdom and Ireland starting at $549 (that’s for New York to Dublin). Book by Aug. 31 for November travel.