AirTran sale isn't really a sale

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Airtran has cut airfares on many of their routes for bookings made by Jan. 17 and for travel through early March on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

But Southwest's current sale for fares on Tuesday and Wednesday departures beats this Airtran sale on many of the routes, according to Airfare Watchdog.

The lesson? Search around on websites before you jump on a deal that an airline advertises as a "sale."

By the way: Keep in mind that Southwest fares don't show up in the search listings of major engines, such as Travelocityand Kayak. To check Southwest fares, you need to visit Southwest.com.

[UPDATE 8a.m. ET 1/7/2008: Midwest Airlines announced a fare sale yesterday for travel through June 11, 2008. Examples include Minneapolis, Minn., to Toronto, Canada, for $204 roundtrip (a 66 percent drop in price, according to AirfareWatchdog), Hartford, Conn., to Flint, Mich., for $210, and Charlotte, N.C. to Omaha, Neb., for $189. Most fares require either a Friday or Saturday night stay. Must be booked by Jan. 15, 2008 at MidwestAirlines.com or the the top travel websites.]

[UPDATE 1p.m. ET, 1/3/2008: United Airlines is offering deep discounts on both domestic and international airfare for the new year, for booking by January 10, 2008. Sample fare: San Francisco to Shanghai for $518 round-trip. Click here for details and restrictions.]

EARLIERSouthwest returns to San Francisco.

MORE ON FARE SALESAirfareWatchdog.

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