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50% Off Promo Code from Direct Air

Save 50% on all flights with Direct Air's (tel. 877/432-3473; www.visitdirectair.com) 4th of July sale. This offer is valid for travel through April 30, 2011, and tickets must be purchased by July 5. To redeem discount, just enter promo code JULY4SALE at time of purchase.

Not sure where the heck Direct Air flies? Well, Direct Air serves Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Ft Myers, Newark, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Toledo, Columbus, Springfield, Rockford, Kalamazoo, and Niagara Falls. Route map and more info at visitdirectair.com.

Aer Lingus Sale to Europe for Fall/Winter

Fly on the cheap to select cities in Europe this fall/winter with the current sale from Aer Lingus (tel 800/223-6537; www.aerlingus.com). Travel dates will vary by route, though most are from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

Seats are limited, and these round-trip fares could go at any time:

Dallas Sale from American Eagle

Save on flights to/from Dallas/Ft Worth with the new summer sale from American Eagle. (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) Offer is valid for travel Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, through Sept. 29. Fares require a Saturday night stay, and a 14-day advance purchase.

All tickets must be purchased by 11:59pm CT, July 6.

Round-trip fares include:

New Service to Lihue from Alaska Airlines

Beginning next spring, Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) will launch new nonstop service between Lihue, Hawaii and both Oakland and San Jose, California. Oakland-Lihue service starts March 28, and will operate 4 times weekly.

Introductory fares of $179 one-way are available for travel between Oakland-Lihue on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from March 28 through May 16.

San Jose-Lihue service starts March 27, with 3 flights weekly. Introductory fares are also available at $179 one-way, for travel on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, from March 27 through May 17.

All round-trip nonstop fares must be purchased by July 9, and include:

Rio Sale from American Airlines

American Airlines' (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) summer sale to Rio de Janeiro is good for travel from July 1 through July 31. Fares are valid for daily travel, and require a 3-night minimum stay.

Tickets must be purchased at least 3 days prior to departure. Sale ends July 28.

Round-trip fares include:

How Was Your Flight? Mine Was, Well, Perfect

How was your flight? That's what United Airlines asked me, by e-mail, a day after I returned from flying on their New York JFK to Los Angeles route. And you know what? It wasn't half bad. OK, it was really wonderful.

The flight attendants were cheerful and polite, the flights were on time, there was plenty of space in the overhead bins, if there were any screaming kids I didn't notice because I was listening to the excellent in-flight entertainment on my Bose noise-canceling headphones. I wasn't bumped. I got a great fare. The Wi-Fi worked. For each question in the survey, I clicked the "extremely satisfied" option.

Yes, one of my scheduled flights was severely delayed, but I arrived at the airport two hours ahead of time and as I was checking in at the kiosk a helpful United ground agent approached me, asked what flight I was on, and in two minutes had me on a flight leaving in a half hour.

Which got me to thinking: Is air travel really all that bad? More on this in the Airfarewatchdog blog.

Ship Your Luggage! UPS Store Selling "Luggage Boxes"

We like this a lot. At select locations, UPS Stores are selling two sizes of luggage boxes, according to a press release, "large and small; [each] has a sturdy handle for easy carrying, and is made of recyclable corrugate. Because it weighs less than an empty suitcase, packing directly into the box can help lower shipping costs. And how's the insurance compare with what's offered by the airlines? Find out at Airfarewatchdog.com.

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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