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One of the best ways to find a great fare from Northwest Arkansas National Airport is to think ahead.

You don’t want to purchase a flight four or five months ahead, though. That’s too early.

What’s just about right, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights, is buying one to three months in advance. We’d lean toward four to five weeks before the departure date.

With that in mind, FareFlightNWA sought out February’s best weekend deals, and we put a twist on things just this once. Instead of identifying the rock-bottom fares offered by XNA’s low-cost carriers Allegiant Air, Breeze Airways and Frontier Airlines (because those three are almost always the least expensive way to fly), we focused on XNA’s legacy carriers. The legacies — American, Delta and United — do sell fares that are well within many people’s budgets, but it requires committed searching via Google Flights to find the best options.

Here’s how we’d handle February with a goal of a weekend trip on a legacy carrier.


With so much mass transit, it’s easy to get around Chicago without renting a car so that’s a huge plus in the Windy City. Leave XNA via American or United on Feb. 3, return home on Feb. 7 for $189 roundtrip. The Chicago Bulls play the Philadelphia 76ers on the afternoon on Sunday, Feb. 6. We’d do that.


The growing culinary scene in Asheville plus more than 30 art galleries make the North Carolina city into a good February option. Fly Delta in the evening on Feb. 2, return to Northwest Arkansas on Feb. 6, and it’ll cost $299 roundtrip. Same price on Delta if you go Feb. 9-12, and American sells Feb. 16-20 for $296. Explore Asheville has a great website to explore what’s happening.


You’d be challenged to find days in February where Delta won’t sell you a nonstop roundtrip to Atlanta for $259. It doesn’t appear to matter when you go and when you return to XNA. The Atlanta CVB’s website offers recommendations, including a proposed three-day weekend that covers a lot of ground.


We’d go Feb. 4 and return home on Feb. 7 for $197 (American) or $199 (Delta) roundtrip and give our full attention to the Lowcountry Oyster Festival on Feb. 6. It’s billed as the world’s largest oyster festival where live music, beer, wine and food rule the day. There are a few YouTube videos of it out there if you want to spoil the mystery of it all.