June 16, 2011 -- Planning a summer trip? JetBlue has another "flash" sale ending tonight at 11:59 PM PST, with advertised fares as low as $32 from Burbank to Las Vegas and $49 from Boston to New York City's JFK Airport.
In this summer of ultra-high airfares, sales -- if you can find any -- tend to last as little as a day. And you'll have to deal with restrictions including limited seats and travel days to snag a deal.
"It behooves people to be ready," said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com. The JetBlue deal is a good one because the flights are applicable for summertime travel, July 6 to August 31.
While the deal is limited to certain flights and only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Seaney said consumers could still benefit from purchasing half of a roundtrip flight through the sale.
Airline sales are "always good" for consumers, but because some sales are so quick, Seaney said, competitors may not follow suit. That means there's no huge cache of cheap seats to pick from.
"Jetblue has been aggressive at flash sales, one-day sales. They are very active on Facebook and Twitter trying to get buzz around that," Seaney said.
Jon Guljord, senior director for merchandising with Expedia.com, said the flash sale trend will not disappear anytime soon.
"Especially as economy is not in the best shape, consumers are going to try to get every deal they can get," Guljord said.
But Guljord said while airfare sales may offer lower prices, they may not be the best "deal."
"Some of the flash sales, offer great value, but we think is a great deal is not just great price, but it's also great availability and somewhere you want to go that's rated highly by other travelers," Guljord said.
Guljord said he expects more summer travelers are opting for driving trips rather than longer "aspirational trips" which may require flying. Hotels are trying to meet that growing demand by publicizing weekend getaways to locals.
Expedia also announced a partnership with Groupon earlier this month for "Groupon Getaways with Expedia" which Guljord said will start soon.
Another deal on Expedia.com is its free gas promotion. Through that offer, which began June 6 and ends July 4, customers who use a MasterCard card to purchase a two-night stay with participating Expedia hotels get a $25 prepaid gas card. Three or more nights earn customers a $50 gas card.
Guljord said the program's popularity has exceeded the expectations of the company which is on pace to give away $1 million in gas money by July 4.
Seaney said Jetblue advertises many of its flash sales through one of its Twitter accounts, @jetbluecheeps. Seaney himself tweets out all the major airline flash sales at: @rickseaney. Other airlines tend to publicize their flash sales through their email distribution lists. Though there are other strategies to find cheap airfare, such as timing your purchase for a Tuesday.