Super Bowl travel tips for die-hard Seahawks fans
Advice for getting the best deals on airfares and hotels, for one of the most expensive sporting events of the year.
Seattle Times NWTraveler editor
Northwest travel guides
If you’re still counting your money and hoping to get to New York to join the Feb. 2 Super Bowl fun, here’s how to arrange a trip and what it will cost.
No surprise: Airfares are up, availability is down, especially on Seattle-New York nonstops around Super Bowl weekend. And more Seahawks fans, compared to the rival Denver Broncos fans, are snapping up last-minute Super Bowl trips — 21 percent more on Orbitz.com, said the travel website’s Marita Hudson Thomas on Tuesday.
A few $650 round-trip seats for Seattle-New York flights (to JFK, LaGuardia or Newark, N.J., airports) were available as of Tuesday for a Jan. 31-Feb 3 trip. Most seats were $800 and up (on non-Super Bowl weekends fares sometimes can be half that). If you hoped to fly Alaska Airlines’ nonstop from Seattle to Newark, you’re out of luck. That route essentially is sold out Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, said Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan.
Fares change rapidly, so keep comparison-shopping on travel sites such asExpedia.com, Kayak.com or Orbitz’s Super Bowl hotel/flight finder at bit.ly/1fXoPHI. Then check airline websites; it may be easier to solve any flight problems (such as winter-weather delays, cancellations) if you’ve booked directly with the airline.
Here’s how to cut costs:
Different days: Fly on the Thursday before the Super Bowl or the Tuesday after to beat the weekend high prices. Given the winter weather in New York, it could be risky to fly on Saturday, Feb. 1, or early Sunday, Feb. 2 — a weather delay would mean missing all the fun.
Redeye flights: Take an overnight flight (Jet Blue, for example, has a Seattle-New York nonstop) and save on a night’s hotel.
Alternative airports: Comparison-shop for flights to Philadelphia or even Washington, D.C.; then take Amtrak or buses into N.Y.
Check Southwest: For Southwest flights (usually low-priced and with no ticket-change fees), you need to go directly to its website, southwest.com.
There’s still room at the inns. New York’s five boroughs have about 100,000 hotel rooms, said Chris Heywood of NYCgo.com, the city’s official tourism office, far more than many Super Bowl host cities.
However, as with every Super Bowl, some hotel rates are supersized, especially in Manhattan, where a lot of the fan action will be. A room at the New York Hilton Midtown starts at $518.73 (including taxes) for the night of Feb. 1. A week later, on Feb. 8, the same room is s $381.03.
Many Manhattan chain hotels are charging around $450 a night during Super Bowl weekend. Check out boutique hotels for lower rates (rooms were available Tuesday starting at $319 a night at Kimpton’s 70 Park Avenue Hotel). Or the Wolcott Hotel in Midtown had several rooms for $260 a night. And a bed in a dorm at Hostelling International’s New York hostel is $69 a night per person on Super Bowl weekend.
Other options include vacation rentals through companies or individuals, including the very popular Airbnb.com through which owners rent out a spare room or their entire apartment (although absentee-owner Airbnb rentals are illegal, according to New York law).
Wait until a few days before the Super Bowl. If you find a decently-priced airline ticket, buy it; you have, by law, 24 hours from purchase to cancel and get a full refund. In that time period, phone New York hotels directly and bargain for a room. Hotels may discount rather than have a room go empty.
Game tickets / packages
The Super Bowl is one of the most expensive sports events, with tickets for the Seahawks-Broncos game starting at $2,700 through the NFL.com website and about $2,550 on StubHub.com, a ticket reseller.
Want someone else to do all the legwork? Hotel/game ticket packages through the official seller Prime Sports start at $5,195 per person and include three nights at a Manhattan hotel; a game ticket; transport to and from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (9 miles from midtown Manhattan in East Rutherford, N.J.).
Can’t afford game tickets? Join the street party in Manhattan at the Super Bowl Boulevard: nfl.com/superbowl/48/events/boulevard. For New York sightseeing, two-for-one Broadway tickets, etc., go to nycgo.com .
Kristin Jackson: email@example.com