Domestic airlines have cut capacity by an average of 10% or so compared to last year. If you aren't taking many bags, spirit usually has some absurd deals to FLL if you book far enough in advance. Otherwise pick a number that you're willing to pay and jump on the deal. Prices rarely go down around Christmas.
Thanks Serene and Chadd. I have set up a fare watcher.
As usual Atlanta is the highest fare! DL needs competition!!!
With three people it is cheaper to drive to FLL and fly Spirit to AUA than UA through IAD or US through CLT. Savings of over $350.
You do have to watch Spirit and their charges, they're a bit more aggressive than anyone else. That said, they treated me like royalty the one time I had to use them to get to Aruba. I was traveling on my jumpseat pass and the experience was fantastic. A few people complained because I had a larger carry-on than their rules permitted but the flight was fantastic and the "big front seat" is priced appropriately for what you get. Same service, just a bigger seat.
DL does have pretty good competition in ATL. AirTran is running some fantastic specials right now. They just haven't expended into the islands, yet. For $50 a head more than my standby passes, a friend booked a christmas trip to Orlando for his family on AirTran and the flight is direct, no connections. Normally direct flights cost a bit more as people are willing to pay a bit more to avoid a connection. DL will usually be the most expensive for you no matter what.
We booked early this afternoon. Got the last 4 tickets on CO at one fare, an hour later the seats were another $30 per person. Unfortunately the fares on Delta went from $549 on 7/11 to $799 today, but we are going and that is what matters. Last time we went for Christmas and booked in April, the fare from Atlanta was $1100 pp, so still feel like it is a bargain.