United Airlines has dropped transcon fares between the New York market (EWR, JFK, LGA) and Ontario, California (a distant suburb of Los Angeles) to levels I have not seen in years: return trips available for as little as $162!
Mileage runners can max this out by forcing connections in Houston or Washington and San Francisco and I am most excited to report that you can even include a couple segments on United’s new Boeing 787 (though I would caution you not to book this purely for the 787–the schedule may change).
Here’s a sample routing–
You can book on united.com using the multi-city mode (search for Newark-Houston, Houston-Ontario, Ontario-Houston, Houston-Newark for the example above).
As Frequently Flying points out, you can squeeze some tight connections in Houston–an airport that can be very difficult to transit through even if you remain in the same terminal. Look at my example above–only 32 minutes. You miss that flight and you’ll likely be re-booked in full-fare economy class, earning even more miles.
The fare is available now for travel through January 23, 2013, but there is a 14-day advance purchase restriction, a minimum stay requirement that varies depending on what the day of the week you travel (so this could not be a pure mileage run), and some blackout days around the holidays. I won’t bore you with the specifics–just play around with your preferred travel dates using united.com or matrix.itasoftware.com (see example below):
I booked one trip home but now regret taking care of all of my bookings in advance earlier this year–this is simply an incredible deal. But you need to book now. Heck, I don’t know why I am bothering to write about this, because I suspect this fare to be pulled within the next few hours.