Cheap transcons, and maybe a free upgrade!

UPDATE: The fare is gone but the giveaway continues. And now there’s a GPU valid through the end of 2012 available, too. So if you could use that toss your comment in below.

Seems to be a bit of a fare war going on out there on transcons right now. These aren’t the best prices ever, but a sub-$250 round trip right now is a pretty good deal these days. Virgin America, Delta, US Airways, American Airlines and United Airlines are all in on the deal and inventory is reasonably decent across a wide range of dates. JetBlue has joined the party, too, but at $5 more than the others.

Here’s a search for one-way flights in October:


Like I said, lots of inventory open right now. Oh, and it works from LaGuardia, too, if you want a few extra miles on the connection. This fare is loaded through the end of the schedule (or maybe only mid-December; I’m having trouble parsing conflicting fare rules from different sources), with a limited number of dates (mostly holiday weekends) excluded. Here’s the limits from United:

  19DEC 12 THROUGH 23DEC 12 OR ON 26DEC 12 OR 28DEC 12
  06JAN 13 OR ON 15MAR 13 OR ON 17MAR 13 OR ON 22MAR 13 OR
  ON 24MAR 13 OR ON 29MAR 13 OR ON 31MAR 13 OR ON 05APR 13
  OR ON 07APR 13.

So, about that free upgrade…

Turns out that I have an RPU valid for a one-way upgrade on United which I’m not going to be able to use. It expires on October 31 and you must complete travel by that date. If you have an itinerary with a transcon segment and there is award inventory available (look for the “R” bucket on your reservation) then leave a comment below. Even if it doesn’t have award inventory go ahead and leave a comment, but priority will be given to those which will clear immediately. I’ll pick a random itinerary to win the upgrade on Friday at noon EDT and we’ll go from there.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I actually snagged what might be one of those the other day from my little home airport for November. One way AGS-LAX for $140. Quite happy with it!

  2. I have at least one (possibly armfuls after I finish booking things this evening) p.s. trip with R5. A free RPU would be much appreciated.

  3. I booked mileage run on 31st jfk-sfo-sna-sfo-jfk for $208! The leg SFO-JFK is red eye flight departing at 11:15 pm and has 3R’s available! It would be great to have it for that leg!!

  4. Will be flying from LAX to JFK on September 23 (red eye flight). Expert flyer currently shows 7 open seats in R class. I am a college student and I would LOVE to be able to use the upgrade!

  5. Got a SAN-IAH-PHL in October with R space. I upgraded my better half already and as of now I am riding in the back! Would really appreciate the RPU so we can sit together!

  6. Please … please … please … pick me! Leaving next week on United, roundtrip LAX to IAD and I verified using two methods that upgrades are available in both directions – I checked and then I also confirmed with UA over the phone that upgrades are available in both directions and that my ticket allows an RPU.

    One is a red-eye and I’m thinking I would use it for that flight.

    Not that I’m begging … but please pick me! πŸ™‚

    Thank you for this generous offer to your readers!

  7. Hi! I am flying LAX-JFK on 9/27 and then back JFK-LAX on 10/7. It would be great to finally experience an upgrade. I am new to this and haven’t yet experienced this type of perk. Pick me!

  8. Flying SFO to EWR on a red eye in late October. I think they have business first, not regular domestic first, and it would be great to get a good night’s sleep on some flat seats!

  9. The wife has EWR-SAN on United coming up 9/24. Outbound is R0 but return is R1.

    Yeah I know, cutting it close but what are you gonna do? πŸ™‚

  10. Would love to have the upgrade on JFK-SFO or SFO-JFK on Dec 1.
    Please let those with longer segment enjoy the upgrade to maximize its value.

  11. CID-SYD Sept. 14 (R5 on the domestic legs); Would love to upgrade my wife

    Would love the GPU for a parent who is coming to visit me in SYD at the end of march (tickets will be booked soon)

  12. I have a long flight from singapore to NYC this september. Your GPU will benefit me a lot. thanks!

  13. EWR-SFO for Thanksgiving! (obviously for Tommy’s GPU) Would make that a pretty awesome flight!

  14. OK … I’m such a newbie that I had to look up what GPU means. Will it work on BA? If so, I’m throwing my hat in the ring. I have a RT before year’s end.

    Thanks again! πŸ™‚

  15. LAX-JFK, UA912 (ps), on 9/18; it is R1. A redeye that my parents are taking home after coming out to visit their four-week old granddaughter. Would be wonderful for one of them to have a more comfortable ride home.

  16. i have a outbond flight in late sep, leaving mia-iah-ewr-sea only ewr-sea available. Another flight in oct leaving from mia-iah-sfo to pvr. r class only available from mia-iah πŸ™

  17. Have a RT flight AUS-AMS in October and AUS-LON in November. Would love a GPU for the transatlantic portion

  18. I would love it for my ORD-IAD flight on the 8th of Sept. Not exactly transcon but I have a tight connection to make in IAD and being up front would certainly help. Alternatively I could use it on my IAD-ORD return.

  19. Will be flying DCA-IAH-SJU-ORD-IAD next week (9/14, returning 9/15). R availability all segments. Would love to use a RPU on one of the long segments (IAH-SJU is 4:30 / 2007 miles) or preferably SJU-ORD (5:06 / 2072 miles). Am 6’4″ so this could be rough in the back. Thanks!

  20. I have several flights that this would be incredibly useful for, namely IAD-DXB or NRT-ORD. Would make for an incredible overnight segment on one of these flights in my RTW itinerary. Thanks!

  21. I’m traveling to FTU on Nov 30-Dec 2 with plenty of R on both segments. Would love to use a RPU because as a measly silver, I hardly get the upgrade experience (unless traveling with Kevin and if he’s feeling nice to give it up to me haha)

    I also have an EWR-IST flight on Nov 18-25 on UA metal if that’s eligible with the GPU

    Crossing fingers!!

  22. I have MCO-DRS flight I am about to book for beginning of October. I would love the opportunity to fly business using a GPU. Also, 9/7 is my birthday. I cant think of a better gift! πŸ™‚

  23. My girlfriend and I are traveling to Europe for our first time Sept 26-Oct 7 on United. Will be flying IAD-MAD, MUC-FRA-IAD. Plenty of R availability on the FRA-IAD. Would love a GPU for her on the way home! Thanks!

  24. Thanks Seth – I’m in. Heading to MSP in late September. R availability on all legs except the RJ and EMB-120 πŸ™

  25. Flying nearly 24 hours from New York to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in October (connecting in Beijing). Would love that GPU for the way there, on which there is plenty of R availability. The idea of 14.5 hours in coach makes me nervous about my ability to be “on” from the moment I arrive!

  26. Thanks for the offer! Flying to Israel for only a 3 day visit! IAD thru EWR in October. R available both ways. GPU would make the 3 day trip tolerable!!

  27. Headed to Europe in early October. IAH-IAD-GVA-NCE-FRA-IAH. Would love to upgrade one of the transcontinental segments!

  28. I’ll be flying my mom from WAS to LAX (On to HNL) mid october to meet her new grandbaby, due oct 14! This would definitely help, considering she had back surgery and those Coach seats can be quite tough on her.

  29. Hey Tommy the Goalie! My 2 kids and I are flying IAD to your homeland, then Sweden, then Finland on Oct 11! Your GPU would be a treat for my 10 year-old daughter, if you’re game…

  30. I have a SFO-ORD Friday red-eye and a SFO-BWI segment that I could use this for. Thanks for the giveaway Seth!

    Too bad it’s not valid in November, have IAH-LIM and back. If Tommy’s GPU is in play, I’d probably switch it to GRU-EWR since I’ll be flying back from FLN anyway, oh well :

  31. I would love to get that GPU. I’m taking the Dreamliner on Dec 2 from SFO-IAH. There’s plenty of availability on it (surprisingly). That redeye would be oh so much more comfortable.

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