Sometimes it’s hard to know why airlines charge less than usual to fly, but Northwest Arkansas National Airport travelers can benefit from a widened availability of low-cost flights.
It’s not just the usual suspects, either.
Yes, Allegiant, Frontier and Breeze Airways offer XNA’s best deals to most places they fly, but travelers who are loyal to American, Delta and United will find they are selling affordable roundtrips right now, too. The legacy carriers are selling January roundtrips for less than $250 to Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Phoenix and cities all across Florida.
Which deal is the best one being sold by the legacy carriers? We’d pick one of these.
Departing Jan. 20 and returning to XNA on Jan. 23, American wants $237 roundtrip. It stops in Charlotte in both directions, but one stop isn’t a big deal to most travelers.
American, Delta and United are all selling trips that leave XNA on Jan. 27 and return to Arkansas on Jan. 30 for $200 or less. It’s a quick trip, but you wouldn’t want to miss too much of Northwest Arkansas’ winter blasts, would you?
If you’ve just had it with this week’s cold weather, you’re in luck. It’ll be in the low 70s in New Orleans this weekend. American can fly you there on Jan. 6, and you’d return home on Sunday, Jan. 9. The price is $152 roundtrip. It’s not as affordable as this weekend’s trip on the same days offered by Breeze Airways ($108 roundtrip), but it’s still a good deal if you’re loyal to American.
History shows the best deals to Sin City are almost always on Allegiant Air, and XNA saw Frontier start offering inexpensive flights to Las Vegas in August. You don’t have to work too hard to find a roundtrip on either of those airlines for less than $150 roundtrip. But if loyalty is your thing, a $238 roundtrip on American that leaves XNA on Jan. 27 and that comes home on Jan. 31 is a solid pick.
American, Delta and United for $240 roundtrip can get you to Phoenix on Jan. 24. You’d fly back to XNA on Jan. 27. Frontier can do it for $119, but the super long layover in Denver on the way home (13 hours overnight) makes the legacy carriers’ offerings way better.
It’s $240 roundtrip on Delta if you leave XNA on Jan. 27 and return home on Jan. 30. It’s nonstop, too, which has obvious advantages.
Why so low?
It’s not just those destinations where the legacy carriers are offering affordable flights. Roundtrips to Destin and Savannah on United, Panama City on American, and Fort Myers on any of XNA’s three legacy carriers are all available for less than $200 later this month.
It’s not always clear to travelers why any airline sells flights for less money, but there are clear possibilities.
It could be that January and its neighbor February are XNA’s slowest months as the doldrums of winter and the return to school keep passengers away. It’s possible the legacy carriers want to gain the attention of the people who are willing to travel in the wintertime, and offering low fares is one way to do it.
But it’s important to consider COVID-19, and the new surge in the omicron variant injected more uncertainty into travel. What’s clear is many more people will be infected by omicron than previous variants. The possibility of sickness has many people delaying decisions about travel. Some people are canceling reservations they’ve already made.
The most interesting consideration as to why legacy carriers are changing less could be the competition brought on at XNA by Allegiant, Breeze and Frontier. The low-cost carriers started flying on 10 more routes from XNA in 2021. Breeze starting service in June, and Frontier and Allegiant adding to what they were already doing.
While it’s probable the low-cost carriers are generating their own, unique passengers, they are pulling some customers away from American, United and Delta, too. If American, Delta and United want to keep customers, they have to charge competitive fares.
The last possibility is that it isn’t wintertime, COVID-19 or increased competition from low-cost carriers that’s causing the legacy carriers to reduce fares. Rather, it’s possible that it’s a combination of all three.
Regardless of the reason, the legacy carriers have affordable January pricing that’s worth the attention of XNA’s wintertime travelers.