Two-day flash sale: JetBlue fares as low as $49 one way; routes limited

JetBlue planes at a gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images
JetBlue planes at a gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

JetBlue rolled out a two-day flash sale Tuesday morning that dropped round-trip fares below $150 on dozens of the carrier's non-stop routes.

Though JetBlue routinely offers similar short-lived sales, the latest comes on the heels of the extended Black Friday/Cyber Monday window in which airlines rolled out a bewildering array of offers meant to juice sales. Some offers represented real bargains while others weren't much more than advertising gimmicks.

As for JetBlue's latest flash sale, most of the cheapest fares were for the airline's shortest routes. Among the shorter routings available for $49 each way were Boston-Baltimore; Long Beach, Calif.-Las Vegas; Boston-Newark; Washington National-Hartford and Fort Lauderdale-New Orleans. Others, such as Fort Lauderdale-Jacksonville, Oakland-Long Beach, Boston-Syracuse and New York JFK-Burlington, Vt., were available for either $54 or $59 one way.

A handful of the rock-bottom fares came on longer routes, where bargain-hunters would typically see higher fares. The biggest eye-openers of the bunch: Flights between Boston and Houston Hobby were on sale for just $49 one way while New York-Palm Springs, Calif., flights were just $69 one way.

Other notable routes with $49 one-way fares included Atlanta-Boston and Fort Lauderdale-Detroit. Philadelphia-Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale-Turks and Caicos flights were close behind at $59 and $64 one way, respectively.

Among other highlights: Savannah, Ga.-New York JFK ($54 one way); Charleston, S.C.-Washington National ($59 one way); Chicago O'Hare-Fort Lauderdale ($69 one way); Boston-New Orleans ($74 one way); and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico-New York JFK ($98 one way).

JetBlue's sale fares on most other routes represented decent deals, but few were jaw-dropping bargains. Fares on routes like Boston-Washington National ($79 one way); Hartford-Tampa ($99 one way) and Raleigh/Durham-Boston ($109 one way) weren't headline-grabbers.

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There's fine print for the sale, of course.

Tickets must be purchased by midnight Wednesday (Nov. 29), and the sale fares are excluded from Friday and Sunday flights. The sale covers travel from Dec. 5 through Dec. 14 and from Jan. 11 through Feb. 14. The sale fares are capacity controlled, meaning the cheapest seats will disappear as they sell out on individual flights. A seven-day advance purchase is required. And fliers should note that restrictions could vary slightly by route.

Also of note is that sale prices are for JetBlue's "Blue" fares that don't include checked bags for non-elite fliers.

A Tuesday morning spot-check of JetBlue's website showed reasonable availability of the sale fares on the routes sampled by Today in the Sky. Some routes had significantly greater availability of the lowest advertised fares than others. Fliers also should expect the highest availability of cheapest fares on unpopular flight times, such as those departing early in the morning.

Fliers able to travel on Tuesdays or Wednesdays appeared to have the best shot of snagging JetBlue's lowest fares. Also, JetBlue's day-of-week availability for the fares meant it could be challenging for fliers to make long weekends at the lowest fares on many routes. However, the prices can be combined with non-sale fares in creating a round-trip.