There are some great first-class fares for travel across the U.S., and you can fly to several cities through May 28 at discounted rates.
Because these deals are intended for leisure travelers, the airlines require a 21-day advance purchase to keep business travelers from snapping them up.
On some routes, the cheapest days to fly will be Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. Those days are always slow days for the airlines.
From Dallas, most destinations, including New York, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are in the range of $529 to $589 round trip.
Last year, American was offering deep discounts on first class, then Delta jumped on the bandwagon. Now, on some routes, Delta is $100 to $200 cheaper round trip than American.
You may have to make a connection to get the cheapest rates. For example, Delta has a $580 round-trip fare for a confirmed first-class seat from Dallas to Las Vegas, but you must fly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Delta doesn’t offer nonstop flights on that route, so you have to connect.
American has a reduced first-class fare on the same route for $695 round trip; this is nonstop. That fare is available almost any day of the week. For about $60 more each way, you can fly nonstop and travel most days of the week.
Delta also has a discounted round-trip first-class fare from Dallas to New York for $559 for travel through June 3. Again, the cheapest days to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, but you can go other days of the week for $100 to $300 more. American’s cheapest fare is about $800, but you can fly any day of the week including Friday and Sunday.
The Delta deal offers travel through May, so not only are you getting a cheaper fare if you make a stop, but you can also fly during spring break and Memorial Day, when seats may be limited.
American’s sale was only valid on travel through March 12, though these fares have been available in some markets for April travel.
To give you an idea what the airlines usually charge for first-class travel, we priced a weeklong trip departing March 13 from Dallas to New York and it was $1,921 on American. That’s over $1,100 more than what American was asking for travel through March 12 and almost $1,400 more than what Delta was charging for travel with a stopover.
On bestfares.com and on other booking sites, the default search is economy class, so make sure you change the search to first class to find these fares. If you are looking to travel outside the U.S., look for business-class seats.
First-class fares offer a lot of amenities, such as being first to board and first to deplane. Expect extra room, more frequent-flier miles, free adult beverages (sometimes a meal) and three free checked bags.
If you’re going on a cruise, you may want to look at first-class fares so you can pack what you like without worrying about the price of checked luggage. If you were flying in coach, the first two bags would be $120 round trip, and the third bag would be an additional $250 round trip on Delta or $300 on American. Even Southwest will charge you for a third bag.