Reports of higher airfares aren’t the most encouraging circumstances for people in Northwest Arkansas who are starting to think about getting out of town via plane next year.
Fares are up across the nation and at Northwest Arkansas National Airport. In this year’s second quarter, the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average price of a roundtrip flight from XNA was $494. The national average was $397.
Moreover, the expectation for 2023 is that airfares will remain high, but savvy shopper aren’t discouraged by high fares. That’s because they know XNA and most airports offer fares that are perfectly reasonable. One just has to look around a bit, and let the price factor into the decision around where to travel.
January and February are a gold mine of great deals, and FareFlightNWA will focus on those. We spent time snooping around on Google Flights, and we picked four weekend deals that should fit most budgets.
We banned all places where the weather may be freezing cold because it’s our list, and we hate the cold.
This is the place in our story where the natural fit is almost always Breeze Airways, but the airline will pause its twice-a-week New Orleans nonstop in January. It restarts Feb 3.
Your best option this time is Delta Air Lines, flying Jan. 20 and returning to XNA on Jan. 23 for $165 roundtrip. The connection is in Atlanta.
If that exact flight doesn’t work, Delta, Breeze and United Airlines provide lots of options for less from $250 roundtrip from XNA to New Orleans between Jan. 9 and Feb. 14.
Because fewer people visit New Orleans in January or early February, hotel prices should be better than average. It’s a perfect January city for bargain hunters.
January and February weather in New Orleans shows highs are often in the 60s and lows are in the 40s. That’s far from freezing cold.
There’s only one destination from XNA that has service provided by three airlines. That’s Phoenix.
Allegiant has provided seasonal, twice-a-week flights to the Phoenix/Mesa airport for a few years. The new wrinkle is that American Airlines and Breeze start flying to Phoenix SkyHarbor in February, and the competition bodes well for consumers.
We do see some January and February weekends where fares on Allegiant and Breeze are less than $200, but that’s not the case over at American. American, which starts flight to Phoenix on Feb. 3. It’s fares are consistently above $500 roundtrip.
The question is what American does if its planes don’t fill. Will the airline flood the market with inexpensive seats, creating an even better buying opportunity?
The truth is American’s decision won’t matter much because the fares on Breeze and Allegiant are already less than $200. How much lower than $200 roundtrip does it take to get your attention? That’s right. Less than $200 is terrific. Buy now on Allegiant or Breeze.
It’s a close call as to whether the swimming pools will be open in Las Vegas at the end of February, but you’re not taking the kids on this junket, so no need to sweat swimming pools.
We’d leave on Feb. 23 from XNA and come back on Feb. 26. There’s only one airline that gets you there for a great fare, and that’s Allegiant. The roundtrip price is $223.
We don’t usually help with hotels, but we will this time because we know Las Vegas so well. We used Hotels.com.
Staying downtown makes sense if the budget matters, and the Golden Nugget can be had for $107 a night (plus a resort fee that just about every hotel tacks on just to make you mad). The gambling is less expensive downtown, and the winning happens more often. Trust us.
If the strip is your thing, the best per-night prices are going to be at Luxor ($93) or Excalibur ($66), and the truth is those two might be just fine because no one spends much time in their room if they are to have a true Las Vegas experience. If you want something better, it’ll cost at least $200 a night. Stay at Bellagio ($793 a night) if you want. It’s not our money.
We’ll list Nashville here, but we’ll do it reluctantly because it doesn’t quite meet our weather rules. The high temperatures in January average 47 degrees, and they aren’t much better in February (52 degrees).
But the price to fly there is amazing, so we’ll squeeze it onto our list.
Allegiant leaves XNA on Feb. 9 and returns Feb. 12. At $84 roundtrip, it’s just about the best deal we saw.
Additionally, Allegiant has flown the XNA-Nashville route twice a week since 2019, and it’ll be adding a third flight each week from Jan. 8 through the summer. It’ll go to Nashville every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.