Southwest Airlines and Orbitz are advertising huge deals, but will you really save? We did the research for you.
We chose Portland as the destination. Let's start with Southwest.
Southwest is promoting fares as low as $59 one way. When you click on the website, you'll see sections for each state showing the destination and estimated cost. Once you find the Phoenix, Arizona section and select Portland, you'll see a January calendar with a mix of costs that aren't too far from $59 and even below.
Earlier today, Southwest had $54 one-way flights to Portland and back home to Phoenix. You just have to search for them. Select the day with the "starting at" prices you like, and it will take you to what the actual "Wanna Get Away" fare options are.
Choosing two one-way tickets came out to a grand total of $107.88.
Now, let's look at the Orbitz deal.
On their website, they're promoting deals as low as $47. When you click to see the actual options for the deal rates, your options are pretty limited.
These select days, January 26-29th is the only option for a round trip from Phoenix to Portland. It was originally $110.88 when it was first selected. After going back a couple hours later, the price dropped to $100.40. Keep in mind that can happen too with all the travel deals right now.
Checking out Expedia, using those same dates for a trip from Phoenix to Portland, a roundtrip from American Airlines came out to $106.40.
Orbitz looks the best when it comes to merely looking at the price, but you also need to factor in bags and other fees. Don't assume the first deal you find is the best deal. Do research using sites like Google Travel and Kayak to compare. and don't be afraid to set alerts so that you will be notified when prices drop.