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First class may cost less than coach

If you’ve always wanted to fly up front, some great prices on domestic first-class seats can put these fares within reach.

When you fly first class, you’ll get priority boarding, up to 6 inches more legroom, a wider seat, meal service on longer flights, free adult beverages and three free checked bags weighing up to 50 pounds each.

The average sale prices on these fares have been in the high $400 to low $500 range, which is up to 70 percent off the usual first-class fares.

These discounted first-class tickets are available for travel now through Dec. 13. Some airlines are offering the discounted fares for travel on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, while others offer them more days of the week, including Friday and Sunday. Most airlines require a 21-day advance purchase.

If you buy a coach ticket and you’ll be paying for checked bags, premium seats or advance boarding, first class may be cheaper than coach, especially in peak seasons like summer and Thanksgiving.

As we go into summer, coach fares can be expensive as well, so it’s definitely worth comparing these with first-class fares on your route.

Just remember when you are booking fares that some airlines call their front cabin fares first class and some call them business class. Make sure you check the class of service box for first class so that you see the first-class fares and also check business-class fares.

Get a deal on car rentals in Florida

Summer road trip season is here, and if you act fast, you can get a great deal on a driving vacation out of Florida. Hertz recently extended the pickup period on its one-way rentals out of Florida, so you can pick up the car through June 30 and return it by July 14. Rates start as low as $9.95 per day, plus taxes and fees.

The $9.95 per day rate is much cheaper than the rental rates we see for drop-off and return within Florida, so it lowers your car rental rate for the Florida portion of your vacation substantially.

We looked at a Drive Out of Florida rental, picking up at the Orlando airport and returning to Dallas/Fort Worth. The rate for a full-size car was $117 for seven days and $219 for 14 days, including taxes and fees. A one-week rental for pickup and drop-off at the Orlando airport was $323.

If you were thinking about a Florida summer vacation, but the round-trip airfares plus expensive car rentals put it out of reach, this could be the ticket. You can pick up cars in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Key West.

This deal could be the most frugal getaway of the summer, and you could save up to $1,000 for a family of four.

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Tom Parsons is CEO of Email him at