Summer Travel Season on Sale

Travel agents see deep discounts as economy slows

Travel agents say deep discounts are flooding the market as the slow economy cuts travel demand.

"These are extreme deals that people should be aware of and should be taking advantage of," said Jim Strong, of Strong Travel in Dallas.

He cited coast-to-coast, one-way airfare for less than $100 and a one-week cruise to Alaska starting at $499, with meals included.

One cruise line even offers a guaranteed refund if customers loose their jobs.

"Cruise lines, airlines, hotels, resorts -- everybody has put discounts in the marketplace," Strong said.

Upgrades are often available, because there are fewer business travelers who once filled first class.

Kerri Capps' daughter, who was leaving Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for a church trip to China, was able to snag such an upgrade Tuesday.

"They've been able to upgrade their plans, because people aren't traveling very much right now," Capps said.

But with lower airfares come more fees for extras that used to be free, such as checked baggage.

"Last time I traveled, it was like $50 for two extra bags," said passenger O.J. Darrow, who was wheeling a carry-on bag to avoid the fees.

"I notice more people carrying their bags on, and it's sort of a hassle," said frequent flier Jerry Hicks.

Travel Web site now offers a fare comparison search with fees included.

Fees aside, the lower fares are popular with many travelers.

"Less is definitely better, especially since I usually travel with my son, so I have to buy two plane tickets," passenger Amos Bennett said.

Many of the low fares are available through the summer travel season, which traditionally has blackouts. But Strong said they may not last.

"The best time to travel is right now," he said.

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