JetBlue Exposes No. 1 Low-Fare Secret

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JetBlue (Stock Quote: JBLU) unveiled a one-day fare sale Monday for travel between Nov. 29 and Dec. 18. The sale illustrates the one great trick to obtaining low fares: Fly when nobody else is flying.

Airlines periodically announce fare sales for periods when travel is slow. At other times, policy "experts" advocate higher pricing at periods when travel is heavy.

The truth is that both of these events already occur with high regularity, especially given the increased sophistication of pricing and yield management systems over the past decade.

JetBlue's low one-way fares start at $29 between Boston and Baltimore. Yes, that is a market also served by AirTran (Stock Quote: AAI) and Southwest (Stock Quote: LUV), the two other major low-fare carriers. This means that between the Thanksgiving travel period and the Christmas travel period, these three carriers will be offering hundreds of seats daily in this market at the exact times when most people prefer to stay home.

A very limited amount of research indicates that AirTran also has a $29 fare for many of its seats, while Southwest has a $41 fare, which we believe is likely to diminish.

From New York's Kennedy airport, where it is the largest carrier in terms of daily departures, JetBlue is offering fares ranging from $39 to $139.

By the way, the Air Transport Association has said that during the 12-holiday travel period, the four busiest travel days will be Sunday Nov. 28; Monday, Nov. 29; Friday, Nov. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 24. These will not be good days to find low fares.

However, it is our opinion that Thursday, Nov. 25 will be an excellent day to secure travel bargains.

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