What’s the Cheapest Way to Fly to Vegas?

Reader Colm H writes:

I have an air travel question I was hoping you could help with. I
m in Chicago, a Vegas virgin, and I
m heading out there for the first time at the end of March for a bachelor party. The hotel is set, so I don
t need any package deals, but I
ve been hearing conflicting reports on airfare. As of now, the cheapest round-trip airfare (Thursday-Sunday) I can find is around $350, but I have heard from a few fellow Chicagoans that they
ve gone out there for as little as $210. I know that it
s cheaper to leave and come back on weekdays, but that is impossible with work. What gives? My friends have told me to check it everyday and it should go down. Does the price really fluctuate this much? I hope you can help, or point me in the right direction.

Update! Lots of Vegas tips out of Chicago from readers after the jump.

Cat M writes:

If Colm of “What’s the Cheapest Way to Fly to Vegas?” wants to fly Mar 30 / April 2 (I can’t tell from his question exactly which weekend he’s referring to) then he can get tickets on Southwest for about $250, roundtrip.

(I’m guessing that must be close to spring break, because most of Southwest’s good fares are ‘unavailable’ for the end of March — there aren’t any good fares for the Mar 23/26 weekend.)

BG writes:

Allegiant Air.

Flies from Rockford, IL to Vegas (non-stop, mind you) with outbound fares of $149 on 3/16/06, $119 on 3/23/06 and $89 on 3/30/06 (all Thursdays). Return fares on 3/19 of $179, 3/26 of $89 and $119 on 4/2/06.

Flights get into Vegas at 1:45 local, and leave very early (6 AM Vegas time) on that Sunday. Returning on Monday is a slight bump on the 27th ($119), but cheaper on the 20th ($149 versus 3/19) and on 4/3/06 ($89). These are 6AM departures too.

Comments

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  1. tby says:

    Booking a flight 10+ weeks in advance almost always costs more. Outside of peak travel periods (summer, holidays) the best deals are usually 3-4 weeks out. Sign up for fare alerts from whichever airline or travel site you prefer and wait.

  2. Juancho says:

    Midway is a SouthWest hub- they fly nonstop to Vegas several times a day, even on the weekends. Hit them up for a Promotional or Internet fare (they’ll probably do a sale in February), but you can find a roundtrip fare even now for a little under $300.

  3. Gary Potter says:

    For comparison, go to http://playground.igougo.com and select Chicago and Las Vegas as your departure and arrival cities then click get history. These data points are the lowest fares shopped on a given day in the market. Data only goes through October but it clear that Junacho is right, they will go lower. I also liked the reference to Midway – go to the Southwest site and sign up for Ding.

  4. Jay says:

    O’Hare is one of American’s primary hubs, so flying out of there can be fairly inexpensive because of the sheer number of flights per day between ORD and LAS. Checking right now, the 3/30-4/2 combo is $259 for nonstop out and a change in STL back, and $264 nonstop roundtrip. And, as has been mentioned, prices will almost definitely go down.

  5. Rick says:

    This works for going to Vegas from any city: Call the reservations department at the hotel you want to stay at or are already staying at. They regularly work deals with carriers in order to book flights and will usually have unadvertised deals and you might even get a room upgrade by combining the package.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Here was my first, and last experience with Allegiant Air.

    They have the absolute WORST customer service I’ve ever experienced. I was trying to change my itinerary, and for whatever reason, they could not change my departing city. When I asked why, the woman who was on the other end said, and I quote, “I don’t know, I just work here”. I asked to speak to a manager, and she just hung up on me.

    THEN, then when I actually got to speak to someone else, I went through the hoops, where they ended up just having to cancel my tickets all together. They charged me 50 dollars per person to cancel, and did not refund me their $40 convenience fee for using the website. Also, they would not credit back my card..they gave me credit for my next travel. I had to repurchase my tickets, which cost me another $40 convenience fee for using their website.

    Online reservations are a joke. They charge $17 bucks per person to PICK A SEAT ON THE PLANE, 7.50 for preferred boarding, 15 bucks per bag.

    AND the plane was 3 hours late on my way there, 2 hours late on my way back. (Mesa AZ Rockford Il)

    Worst flying experience I’ve ever had. The whole thing would have cost me less money and less hassle had I just went to a real airline through their own website, or through travelocity or something. That’s what I get for trying to save a few bucks. You get what you pay for in this case.

    Buyer beware..discounts are minimal, and hassle is maximum. Thankfully, I still got my bags.