The Travel Detective

Travel Detective Blog: Airfare Deals You Can Book Right Now

Locations in this article:  Chicago, IL Hong Kong Los Angeles, CA Phoenix, AZ Portland, OR San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA

airportNo one expected it, but it’s happening—and just about all over the world. Plus, it’s happening during high summer season. Travel is being discounted almost everywhere at a time of year when this kind of thing never happens. It is now cheaper to fly from New York to Hong Kong than it is from New York to Boston. From Boston to the Caribbean is cheaper than an Amtrak ticket from Boston to New York.

Why is this happening? It’s a combination of things. An election year—traditionally fewer people travel during a presidential election year (uncertainty, concerns about the economy, etc.). There was the unexpected Brexit vote, which saw the British pound drop to 30-year lows against the U.S. dollar, and then the U.S. dollar’s sudden supremacy against many foreign currencies. Plus, there were the recent terrorist attacks overseas.

What’s the result? The average price of an international ticket to popular destinations plummeted, and the average price of a domestic ticket dropped to $361 in the first quarter—down a substantial 78 percent from the same period in 2015. In fact, U.S. airfares are the cheapest they’ve been since 2010.

Here are some amazing examples.

Do you want to fly from New York to Boston? A ticket on the Delta shuttle could easily run you $603. OUCH. But you can now fly on Cathay Pacific from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or San Francisco to either Hong Kong or the Philippines for just $533! That’s round trip. Normally this ticket is at least three times that amount.

How about Boston to the Caribbean? This fare is NOT a typo: $188 round trip. Normally, the cheapest ticket you can find for this route is $554.

How about Los Angeles to Cartagena, Colombia? It’s now just $353 on Delta, and as with all the other fares I’ve quoted, it’s round trip and includes all taxes.

Another great trip is to Costa Rica from Portland, Oregon on Delta, which is just $439 round trip. Normally, this runs about $1,200.

Now for some great domestic flight deals.

Do you want to fly from Seattle to Phoenix? American Airlines’ tickets are just $116 round trip. At this time of the year, the fare is usually three times that amount.

Are you flying from Washington, D.C. to Orange County (John Wayne Airport) in California? United will get you there for $279, which is about half the normal rate.

There are even deals in business and first class: British Airways has been offering fares as low as $1,500. In some cases, a business or first class seat on some routes to Europe is just $200 more than an economy ticket.

The important caveat: don’t just look to the Internet for these deals. Pick up the phone and call the airlines. While the sales may be extended for flights through the end of October, the prices themselves may expire soon.

For more information about how you can find airfare deals, check out:

By Peter Greenberg for