I live in Los Angeles, but my job is moving me to Las Vegas for the next 4-5 months. I’m planning on making frequent trips back to LA via the Burbank airport, as my wife will be here in LA.
I’m looking for any advice on how best to do this. Driving is not an option, nor is using LAX. Does anyone know of any programs where you can buy a block of tickets for an airline and use them almost at-will? I was hoping Southwest did that, but they don’t offer this.
Worst case scenario I’ll be price hunting every few weeks, but I’m hoping there’s a better option out there…
America West/US Airways is who you’ll become very friendly with. Here are your options on the nonstop ticket on this route (more about that below): unrestricted coach and economy coach fares. The unrestricted coach fare is currently $220 round trip with a 21 day advance purchase on their website. I don’t know if this includes taxes and other fees. You can change the travel dates on this ticket with no penalties.
How does that differ from the economy coach ticket? The economy coach rate is $99 roundtrip. The penalty for the economy coach ticket is $100 plus the difference in ticket price. The same-day ticket price is over $400. So you’d be paying over $400 ($415 new ticket price-$99 old ticket price=$315+$100 penalty) for that change.
Suggestion? Buy the unrestricted coach seat at least 21 days in advance. If you have the bucks, buy a few tickets at once then change the dates as you use them. I can’t remember if you have to make the change before the flight takes off. Call America West for details.
Onto the actual flight. America West/US Airways is the only airline that flies that route nonstop. Once a day, about an hour from pushoff to landing on a CRJ (Canadair Regional Jet), the modern puddle jumper.
Flight 6678 from Vegas to Burbank 7:38pm-8:41pm.
Flight 6679 from Burbank to Vegas 9:10pm-10:15pm
Airline terminology note: Be aware that a direct flight != nonstop. Nonstop flights mean exactly that: you’ll fly from Vegas to Burbank with no intervening stops. A direct flight will make stops but you’ll stay on the same plane. On this route, all other America West flights stop in Phoenix. Delta flies you through Salt Lake City while United stops in San Francisco. That’s one of the many joys of the hub and spoke routing system.
Having flown through both LAX and Burbank, I understand why you’d use Bob Hope Airport. Sometimes you get off the plane and just HAVE to stop by Fry’s!
I prefer flying JetBlue from Long Beach to Las Vegas. The price is almost always low, and the airport is very low-hassle. I like JetBlue from the head of the company on down, and I have never had a bad experience on a flight, regardless of the destination.
Check them out.
And Southwest has lots of non-stop flights to Vegas from the other SoCal airports, but not Burbank? How odd.
Actually, I’m wrong. Southwest has many nonstop flights throughout the day. I forgot to check them. OK, I repressed my memory of Southwest. As a business traveler I hated getting paddle 130 and being among the last on the plane usually getting the backward-facing seat. I’m not a flight attendant, dammit!
So, checking with Southwest, the unrestricted coach ticket is $220 and the least expensive generally available restricted coach ticket is $120. The cheapest restricted coach seat is about $80 but it’s not available on all flights or on all days. (All these are 21 day advance round trip fares.)
Filmyak’s decisions then involve preferences, not economic since the prices are equivalent. If he/she wants an assigned seat America West is the only option. If flying any time during the day is important, Southwest becomes the choice. If he/she doesn’t like flying America West, the choice is harder because Mesa makes that flight.
Long Beach is too far a drive, unfortunately. I figure if I have just 1-2 days to spend at home, don’t want to add a couple of hours drive time into the equation. Burbank is 15 mins away from me.
Thanks for the info, looks like you all came up with the same info I had. I was just hoping someone out there would sell the restricted $80 - $100 tix in a block of 10, so they get to make $$ off the float, and I’d get cheap last second flights. The $200 price is just a bit high for a 45 min flight, but I may not have a choice.
By the way, if any airline likes the advance block idea and wants to run with it? Steal away, just send me an email when the offer is up and running so I can be among the first to buy it.
They already have that system: the unrestricted coach ticket. You’re paying the airline for the freedom to change the ticket at will without penalty. To make it a block, just buy as many tickets as you want in advance, spacing them out throughout your tenure in Las Vegas. When you know the exact date/time of the flight call the airline and make the change, just as you would in your advance block idea. The only difference is the fictitious initial travel date.