Southwest lowers fares for dates surrounding holidays

NEW YORK – Southwest Airlines is launching a winter sale for dates surrounding, but not including, peak holiday travel days.

The airline, which is based in Dallas, said fares are available nationwide starting at $59 each way. Prices are available with a 14-day advance purchase through Nov. 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving. Fares are good for travel between Dec. 1 and Dec. 16 and between Jan. 4 and Feb. 16.

Southwest offered sample fares including $59 one-way between Denver and Los Angeles, $86 one-way between Austin, Texas, and Panama City Beach, Fla., and $94 one-way between New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

Southwest launched a fare sale just two weeks ago for the same travel dates at cheaper prices on some routes. That sale offered one-way flights for $30, $60, $90 or $120 depending on the length of travel.

Mild autumn boosts record numbers at Yellowstone

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – Tourists taking advantage of mild fall weather are adding to the already record number of people who have visited Yellowstone National Park this year.

The park had a record number of visitors in October. That’s on top of the record number of visitors to Yellowstone in June, July, August and September.

Tourism in Yellowstone so far this year is up more than 10 percent compared to this time last year. More than 3.5 million people have visited the park this year, already topping the record 3.3 million who visited Yellowstone all last year.

More than 189,000 people visited the park in October. That broke a 22-year-old record. Park officials say unusually mild weather and less road construction compared to autumns past may be encouraging people to visit Yellowstone. 

Charleston can add ‘friendliest’ to resume

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston has won another travel honor.

Travel + Leisure Magazine on Monday named Charleston the friendliest city in the nation. The magazine also named the city tops in bed and breakfasts, inns and antique stores.

Last month, Charleston was listed among the nation’s top destinations by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Charleston placed second behind San Francisco.

About 4 million people visit Charleston each year.

Charleston and the rest of the South Carolina coast are the heart of the state’s $18 billion tourism industry.

Google offers some air travelers free holiday Wi-Fi

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google said Monday it will offer passengers on AirTran, Delta and Virgin America free Wi-Fi access this holiday season.

The wireless Internet through Google’s Chrome browser will be available Nov. 20 to Jan 2. All three airlines have fleet-wide Wi-Fi that generally costs between $6 and $13.

Last year, Google sponsored free Wi-Fi on Virgin America and throughout more than 50 airports.

In-flight Wi-Fi has been slow to catch on, partly because of the cost. Travelers who already get free Wi-Fi in spots like Starbucks aren’t eager to pay for it on flights, especially since there’s only a limited time people can use laptops or other electronic devices in the air. Experts say extending sponsorships like Google’s are the key to getting people to use in-flight Wi-Fi.