Swiss International Airlines Sale to Europe
First of all, kudos to Swiss (tel. 877/359-7947; www.swiss.com) for listing these fares round-trip including all taxes and surcharges! Why can't other airlines do this, hmmm? With winter almost over, this is the first time in memory that the airlines didn't have panicky (as in $300 round-trip with tax or so) dead of winter sales to Europe. A couple of winters ago, we saw New York/Paris nonstop for February travel on Air France at $250 round-trip with taxes and surcharges included. Not so this winter -- fares remained stubbornly high.
Our theory for this is that fares from Europe to the U.S. were relatively cheap, and with the cheap dollar, Europeans were flocking to the U.S., taking up seats that Americans would otherwise fill. Plus, the airlines have cut capacity -- a one-two punch.
Clearly, Barcelona remains one of the cheaper European gateways, with London still on the high side. One reason for that is the approximately $100 in taxes imposed by the British government on flights into and out of Heathrow Airport! That's in addition to U.S. taxes/fees and fuel surcharges. Looks like Spain is going easier on the taxes.
Anyway, these Swiss fares may be as good as it gets this summer. We have no way of telling really, which is why we encourage you to sign up for fare alerts. We found New York to Barcelona, for instance, at $515 round-trip including taxes and surcharges for travel in August. That's pretty good, although no where near the $250 inclusive fares we found last summer (granted, those fares were a bit of a mistake -- Delta forgot to include the fuel surcharge, but honored the fares anyway). By the way, we tried finding the Swiss fares via online travel agencies but it appears they are airline-site-only. Also, Swiss' website makes it very easy to find seats at the lowest fares. Give it a try.
Cathay Pacific Deals for Spring/Summer
Cathay Pacific (tel. 800/233-2742; www.cathaypacific.com) is offering discounted fares on travel to Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore, Cebu, and Bali. Fares are available for travel from May 1 through May 23, and again from June 1 through August 31. Please note that summer fares will be higher than the spring portion of this sale. Restrictions vary by route. Check Cathay Pacific's site for individual fare rules and travel dates.
Round-trip fares include:
- New York to Bangkok $1,072, incl. all taxes
- New York to Hong Kong $826, incl. all taxes
- New York to Taipei $924, incl. all taxes
- Los Angeles to Manila $837, incl. all taxes
- Los Angeles to Hong Kong $826, incl. all taxes
- San Francisco to Bangkok $878, incl. all taxes
- San Francisco to Hong Kong $826, incl. all taxes
Continental Airlines to Sell Seats With Extra Legroom, for a Fee
Continental (tel. 800/525-0280; www.continental.com) joins United, JetBlue, Virgin America and other U.S. domestic airlines in selling economy-class seats with extra legroom. These seats will become available for purchase 24 hours before the flight's scheduled departure. The seats will have a minimum of seven additional inches of legroom, according to Continental's website announcement, and the cost will vary depending on length of flight and route. Passengers who are members of the airline's frequent-flyer program and who fly more than 25,000 miles per year can select these seats at no additional charge, on a first check in, first served basis. No word when the airline's entire fleet will be reconfigured with the new seats.
Spring Sale From Sun Country
Sun Country's (tel. 800/752-1218; www.suncountry.com) current spring sale features fares starting at $89 one way. Fares are valid for travel from April 13 through June 16, and require a 14-day advance purchase. Avoid blackout dates on May 28 and 31. All fares must be booked by 11:59pm CT, March 8.
- Minneapolis to Anchorage $554
- Minneapolis to Dallas $178
- Minneapolis to Los Angeles $238
- Minneapolis to Las Vegas $258
- Minneapolis to San Diego $238
- Minneapolis to San Francisco $238
- Minneapolis to Seattle $238
Longer Layover, Less Stress
From the Airfarewatchdog mailbag:
"I've seen a lot in the last few days about the huge confusion being caused by new security measures at airports and the lack of consistency and transparency about what rules are applied where. I'm booked on a two-leg international flight with the stopover in San Francisco. I'm not worried about the security lines for my outbound flight, because I can get there in plenty of time, but on my return flight when I will change planes in San Francisco, I'll have to collect my luggage, go through customs, and then recheck my bags and go through security again to continue on to my final destination. The layover is about 2½ hours, which I assume would be long enough if there are no problems, but I'm worried I'm going to get held up somewhere and miss my flight. In that case, whose responsibility is it? Will the airline (United) rebook me for a later flight? Should I assume the worst ahead of time and try to change to a flight with a longer layover now?"
You'll find our answer over in the Airfarewatchdog blog.
Additional Reporting by Aaron Tam & 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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