Make us your home page

Airlines slash fares from Tampa to many cities

Just a year ago, struggling airlines were jacking up fares and introducing new fees like clockwork. Now, carriers are struggling again. But this time consumers are catching a break.

Airlines are cutting prices to fill more and more empty seats on their jets. Sales that began late last year are usually broad. They include popular European destinations like London and Rome and extend into the busy summer season when airlines typically make fat profits.

Carriers are reeling from plunging demand. International routes have taken the worst hit as corporations slash travel budgets and ground first- and business-class fliers who provide a big share of airline revenues.

Domestic travel is hurting, too. Southwest Airlines, which flies only in the United States, saw business passenger traffic weaken in February and the first week of March, chief executive Gary Kelly said at an airline investors conference Tuesday. "I don't know we've reached the bottom," he said.

So, airlines are trying to lure leisure travelers to fly this summer with some of the cheapest prices in years.

"I didn't expect it coming out of record-high or at least decade-high fares (last year)," said Rick Seaney, chief executive of the fare research site "These are prices we won't see outside of a recession."

U.S.-to-Europe fares are down 22 percent for the year, according to the travel Web site Eye-popping prices have included $400 round-trip tickets from New York City to Rome and $500 for Chicago to Paris.

British Airways is selling nonstop return flights from Tampa International to London for $700 through June, about $500 less than a year ago, says Debbie Hunter, owner of Bay Pines Travel in St. Petersburg. Belize is a bargain at $550; Madrid a markdown through late May at $720.

"A lot of people who didn't take trips last year have wanted to this year — if they're in a financial position to do it," she said.

The price point for coast-to-coast flights has dropped to $99 each way, plus taxes and fees. Tampa to Los Angeles, including Delta's once-daily nonstop, was available for $239 Tuesday. Southwest was selling Las Vegas as low as $219 and US Airways offered Salt Lake City for $200.

Keep a few things in mind when shopping: Fares change daily, sometimes several times a day. Start checking early — even two or three months early — to get a feel for what's a good price.

Tuesday afternoon is prime hunting time, Seaney said, because that's when weekly sale fares are matched by competitors.

Finally, don't forget to factor in fees for checked luggage, sports equipment and reserved seats. They can quickly blow up a bargain fare.

Steve Huettel can be reached at or (813) 226-3384.

Airfare deals from Tampa

Reeling from plunging demand, airlines are slashing prices. Below is a sampling of some of the cheaper round-trip fares major national carriers might be offering. The fares listed below are for an April 25 departure from Tampa, returning May 2. Price may vary by carrier.

Destination Price,
including taxes
Price last year Difference
Salt Lake $193 $430 – 55%
Kansas City $131 $200 – 35%
New Orleans $147 $185 – 21%
San Francisco $220 $258 – 15%
Seattle $226 $240 – 6%


Airlines slash fares from Tampa to many cities 03/10/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 3:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls


    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
  2. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business


    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  3. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts


    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts


    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]