Seats on Sale

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 14, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: So you held back on traveling this summer because you thought flights were simply too expensive? Well, news flash, Sparky: seats are on sale big time.

Joining us now on where the deals are and his tips for you, Tom Parsons, the CEO of This guy is the encyclopedia of the industry.

Tom, good have you.


CAVUTO: You know, what I was amazed, Tom? When I heard JetBlue (search) leading this latest parade, largely on the East Coast, with these fare cuts for, I guess, for the fall. They’re all cascading here.

Let’s go where the best deals are right now. But, Florida, to any one of a number of cities, no more than $118. Coast-to-coast flights that are now going for under a nickel a mile. And we mentioned JetBlue, but it is all the premier players participating.

What is going on?

PARSONS: Well, I mean, that is what it comes down to. Actually, I think JetBlue, what you have is those airlines you just showed everybody. Those are the ones that have been the price-setters.

Southwest is probably the one that brought the cheap airfares into Florida. I mean, they’ve got $78 out of Norfolk and Raleigh. It’s good from August 17 through September 29. It’s a six-week window, but even Manchester, New Hampshire, to Fort Lauderdale, $98. That’s under four cents a mile, and it will probably take you two days to drive.

Even from the West Coast — that’s where Air Trans and America Trans Air and JetBlue — we’re seeing fares coast to coast from August 17, to Florida, for like $178, and September 8, to the East Coast, somewhere in the $178 range. Even from New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., to cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco.

CAVUTO: So this is not just some rinky-dink cities. These are major cities, major hubs, major vacation draws. So Tom, guide people here who, A, want to know how to get these, and then lock these.

PARSONS: Well, I think you’ve got to visit a lot of the Web sites. I think you need to visit, of course, but there’s Travelocity, there’s Expedia, there’s Orbitz. But be careful on the days.

I think, right now, if you’re trying to get these deals for July, forget it. The planes are jam-packed.

CAVUTO: Really?

PARSONS: If you are thinking late August, maybe September, after Labor Day, the seats will be wide open. You will have your pickings. You’ll get those super cheap air fares. And, again, it is almost 80 percent of America.

But also, look at alternate airports. If you don’t see it to Boston, try Providence, try Manchester.

CAVUTO: Yes, but because demand is so high, I routinely see this, where the gate attendant says, we’re overbooked, we’re overbooked.


CAVUTO: How do you deal with that? I know you have a number of tips there.

PARSONS: Oh, well, I think there is a lot of things when you get to the airport right now. There’s all these little magic words. But here’s the thing you really ought to do. If you bought your tickets, like some people have, 60, 90 days ago, you better call the airline, because they could have adjusted their flight schedule. They may have even completely removed that flight schedule.

CAVUTO: And they’re not obligated to tell you that?

PARSONS: You know, they say it’s up to the responsibility of the Internet or the Web. It depends on where you bought it. You may never know it happened.

I’m telling you, if you are leaving sometime within seven days before departure, call to see when your flight is, if it’s on the same schedule, the same time. And then the other thing is, you better be at the airport a minimum of 30 minutes before, but I would say get there an hour.

And if you are checking bags, it doesn’t mean you get to the airport 30 minutes. You better have your bags checked in before 30 minutes, or they’ll leave you behind. They will not even issue a boarding pass.

CAVUTO: So you would avoid being overbooked if you lock in, get in there early, and make sure you are registered on that flight.

PARSONS: Right. And you definitely want to make sure you have a seat assignment.

CAVUTO: All right. Tom, great stuff. Always appreciate it, my friend.

PARSONS: All right.

CAVUTO: Tom Parsons, the CEO of Things you should know.

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