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China Airlines Sale: California to Southeast Asia

Save on spring travel from Los Angeles to Southeast Asia on China Airlines (tel. 800/227-5118; www.china-airlines.com). Fares are valid for weekday travel from through May 17, with a $30 surcharge for travel on weekends.

All purchases must be made by April 30. Round-trip fares include:

Fares from San Francisco to Southeast Asia are good for travel through May 20, for weekday travel, with a $30 surcharge for weekend travel. Round-trip tickets must be purchased on or before May 1, and include:

Virgin America's Fares to Fly By

Virgin America's (tel. 877/359.8474; www.virginamerica.com) latest round of Fares to Fly By range from $49 to $199 each way. Book by April 12 for travel between April 19 and June 20. Other sale fares are available for travel from August 19 through November 17, when booked by April 30. Blackout dates for both sale portions are May 28, 31, September 3, and 6. Here's a sample of the round-trip fares.

Aer Lingus Spring Fares

Thinking of squeezing in a jaunt to Europe this spring, before fares jump for summer? You'll find Aer Lingus (tel. 800/223-6537; www.aerlingus.com) is offering some pretty snazzy last-chance bargains for travel in May, especially from New York and Boston. These fares do require a whopping 30-day advance purchase, and must be booked by April 14. Slightly higher sale fares are available along these same routes for travel through April 30, with a less restrictive 7-day advance purchase.

For travel May 1 through 31, round-trip fares:

Hurry! Spring Fares From Frontier Won't Last Long!

Plan on zipping around the West this spring? We've found some great unadvertised sale fares on Frontier (tel. 800/432-1359; www.frontierairlines.com), good for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, through June 9. Fares require a 10-day advance purchase. Remember, this is an unadvertised sale, meaning that these fares could expire at any moment. If you see something you like, better pounce fast. Other airlines (United, Midwest...) are matching on many routes.

Round-trip fares include:

Europe: Summer Travel Packages With Air/Hotel Can Be Cheaper Than Air Alone

Summer is nearly here, and folks are starting to pay closer attention to airfares, specifically to Europe. Flummoxed by those four-digit fares across the Atlantic? You're not alone. Much sooner than expected, we're seeing a repeat of the fare madness that characterized the summer of 2008. Want to head to Tuscany? That'll be $1,500. Just for the flight. Feel like taking advantage of all those cheap hotel rates in recession-battered Prague? Great, but the lowest fare we found in mid-July was on Finnair; it included -- brace yourself -- two stops. In each direction.

What's going on? It's simple -- airlines are getting serious about cutting the amount of empty seats on their planes. British Airways alone cut capacity between New York and London by nearly 25 percent over 2009. Factor in a situation where Europeans -- some of whom presumably have more cash to spend right now thanks to a weakened U.S. dollar --are being offered more attractive fares, and you have a dearth of seats at the one time of year when masses of Americans get the urge to go abroad. Ergo, high prices.

Europeans aren't the only ones clogging up the planes though; many seats are held by tour operators and packagers; some of them have spectacular leverage, resulting in week-long per-person rates including hotels -- and sometimes, even cars -- priced about the same as your à la carte airfare.

No fooling -- with just a little scouting, you can get to Prague in late July for just $1,149 per person with Virgin Vacations. That price -- lower than that crazy, never-ending Finnair flight alone -- includes six nights in a 2½-star hotel, with all taxes and fees. You're welcome!

Here are just a few examples of the savings that can be yours by booking packages.

DIY Combo Fares to Beat Out the Search Sites?

Flying directly from home to the destination of your dreams can be pretty costly, especially if your home airport isn't a hub. And if you find a better fare departing from a nearby airport, what's to stop you from building your own itinerary and saving yourself some cash, hmmm?

Such was the case for one Airfarewatchdog fan, who writes: "I received an airfare alert recently of a great fare from Houston to Tokyo on Delta for $456 round-trip, including taxes. I live in Dallas, and the fare from here to Tokyo was almost $1,000 round-trip with tax on the very same dates. However, searching further I discovered that on those dates I could fly Dallas to Houston for anywhere between $100 and $200 round-trip. So doing the math -- well, you see where this is going. My question: why didn't any of the fare search sites I looked at, and I queried about a dozen of them including Travelocity, Kayak, and Orbitz, tell me how I could combine the two fares and save almost $500?" Gladly! See our answer on Airfarewatchdog.

Additional Reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and fare sales, including the most helpful and always updated Top 50 Airfares.

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