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New York central park Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Sometimes it pays to book a few months in advance — especially when an early-bird sale like this three-day Southwest deal comes along. Plan ahead and enjoy significant savings on late-summer and fall travel with this domestic fare sale. More than 1,000 discounted routes between U.S. cities are featured in this offer, including cut-rate flights to popular vacation destinations like Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Orlando and more. Fares start at $29 each way plus taxes and fees — and don’t forget that Southwest allows passengers to check up to two bags free of charge.

To be clear, only one route is priced at $29 each way: Birmingham to/from Louisville. But bunches of affordable $39, $49 and $54 fares (and up) are on offer for a nice variety of domestic routes.

The Catch: This deal’s distant travel dates are probably its biggest drawback. You’ve got to book by Thursday, June 9, but travel is valid from late August through mid-November. And, as is the case with most airfare sales, these tickets are nonrefundable.

The Competition: AirTran has initiated a similar 72-hour sale, which features fares starting at $54 each way plus taxes and fees. AirTran’s current sale includes international fares to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, while Southwest is selling discounted tickets to U.S. destinations only. AirTran’s limited weekly travel dates (to get the cheapest fares, you have to travel on Tuesdays or Wednesdays) are a drag. But AirTran beats Southwest’s prices on select routes, so be sure to check both sites before booking your flight.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Airfare Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

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