I recently received an e-mail lamenting that Delta Air Lines does not offer a list of last-minute deals out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on its website. It’s a common concern, especially this time of year when people are tired of the dreary weather and want an escape to, well, anywhere.

I appreciate the question. In a market with such a dominant airline, many people are frequent fliers with Delta. So if they are looking for a deal, why not get the low fares and points (even if they don’t add up to much)?

Other methods of finding deals, such as fare alerts from www.airfarewatchdog.com and other sites can be frustrating. The deals are often gone by the time you try to nab them.

So, the good news: Delta actually does offer last-minute deals from MSP, specifically for this market. But you have to dig.

The first step: Sign up to receive Delta e-mails of last-minute fare deals at the airline’s website, www.delta.com. On the home page, scroll down to nearly the bottom of the page and click on the button that says “sign up and save big.”

The website also offers a different — and perhaps more entertaining — way to fly the coop for a few days. Click on the “vacations” link at the top of the page. A drop-down bar lets you choose from among four ways to search for a vacation. “Map it” is the one to click; a box pops up that says, “plan your escape.” Exactly what you had in mind, right? The default on the “Escape to” box is “anywhere.” All you need to do is plug in your airport, then hit the “map my vacation” button and see the possibilities animated on a map of the world.

Voilà: Panama City, three nights vacation for $1,060.


Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.