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Orlando or San Francisco to Northern Europe

Icelandair (tel. 800/223-5500; www.icelandair.com) is offering some pretty good rates with their Lucky Fares from their US gateways of Baltimore, Boston, New York JFK, Orlando Sanford and San Francisco to Reykjavik, Glasgow, London, Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm or Copenhagen. The downside is that many of the fares may be sold out, but if you're flexible with your travel dates, you can get a good deal as shown from the examples below (all round-trip with taxes and fees included):

  • Baltimore to Reykjavik: $412 vs. $561 on Icelandair through Orbitz (Depart May 5, return May 12)
  • Boston to Amsterdam: $618 vs. $782 through Orbitz with several airlines (Depart May 19, return May 27)
  • Orlando Sanford to London Heathrow: $700 vs. $715 on Icelandair through Travelocity (Depart May 23, return May 29)
  • San Francisco to Reykjavik: $472 vs. $608 on Icelandair through Travelocity (Depart May 24, return May 31)

One of the good things about Icelandair's booking page is that it will list all the available travel dates and the price for travel +/- 3 days from your initial choice, so you can determine from the grid if it's a good price, and what works for you. A lot of the low fares are sold out, but they are still worth a look. You'll also have the option of a stopover in Reykjavik for a minimal fee (based on availability).

Depart through May 31, with a Saturday night minimum and 30-day maximum stay; the last possible day of return is June 13, 2006.

Low Fares to New Zealand from L.A. or San Francisco

If you haven't taken advantage of Air New Zealand's (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) sale to four cities in New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington) from either Los Angeles or San Francisco, there's still time. The fares are still available for the most part, depending on which city you're going to, and it's easy to find what's available with Air New Zealand's booking engine. But availability is limited (especially to Christchurch and Wellington), so we wouldn't wait to long.

Below are a sample of round-trip fares with all taxes and fees included.

  • Los Angeles to Auckland: $757 vs. $861 also on Air New Zealand through Travelocity (Depart May 12, return May 26)
  • Los Angeles to Christchurch: $853 vs. $1,150 on Qantas through Travelocity (Depart May 12, return May 23)
  • San Francisco to Christchurch: $933 vs. $1,034 on Qantas through Travelocity (Depart May 28, return June 14)
  • San Francisco to Wellington: $933 vs. $1,006 on Qantas through Travelocity (Depart May 19, return June 7)

And the best part about this sale is that you can stop over in Auckland for free (you pay the taxes and fees) even if you're flying to Christchurch and Wellington. Depart through June 8, with a 5-day minimum and 350 day maximum stay (that's right, you can stay almost a year). Tickets must be purchased by May 7.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays on Sale Through September!

Spirit Airlines (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) is having a Syber Sale for travel in April and May with fares starting at $88 round-trip. Here's what we found, poking around Spirit's site (all round-trip, taxes and fees included):

  • Atlanta to Cancun: $397 vs. $392 on Delta (Depart June 13, return June 20)
  • Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa: $99 vs. $143 on Spirit through Travelocity (Depart June 13, return June 20)
  • Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando: $98 vs. $142 on Spirit, Delta or US Airways through Travelocity (Depart July 19, return July 26)
  • Chicago to Grand Cayman: $396 vs. $413 on US Airways through Travelocity (Depart July 19, return July 26)

The savings are there for this sale, if you can live with traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only (through Sep 27, 2006), which makes for not a lot of flexibility, but you will be saving some money. Blackouts on May 30, July 5 and Sep 5. But don't dawdle, as you only have through May 7, 2006, 11:59PM EST to purchase.

Cut 15 Percent from Fares Between Oregon and Southern California; or Between Idaho and Alaska

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) is offering 15 percent off their Web fares for travel between all the cities they fly serve in Oregon and Southern California (Los Angeles, Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs); or between Idaho and Alaska (not including Prudhoe Bay). To qualify for this discount, just book online before May 7, 2006 for travel between September 6 and November 15, 2006, and enter e-certificate code EC02806 in the appropriate box. Blackouts May 25-26 and 29-30.

Spring into Summer Sale on Alaska

The carrier is also having a spring and summer sale that covers all the cities it flies to. There's still availability on all the fares, and most of the fares, which don't require a round-trip purchase, are indeed the lowest available, even though other carriers match on select routes. Here's a sampling of one-way fares, with all the taxes and fees included:

  • Phoenix/Seattle: $109 vs. $114 on American through Orbitz, depart May 23
  • Seattle/Burbank: $119 vs. $124 on America West through Orbitz, depart May 31
  • Los Angeles/Reno: $101 vs. $114 on American through Orbitz, depart June 2
  • Las Vegas/Spokane: $109 vs. $114 on America West through Orbitz, depart June 6

Travel through June 8, 2006 (except for Phoenix or Tucson, travel by June 30, 2006). Round-trip purchase not required, but a 21-day-advance purchase is. Buy by May 11, 2006.

$1,000 Round-Trip on Business Class to London from NYC or the Capital

MAXjet (tel. 888/435-9629; www.maxjet.com) has again lowered their round-trip fare to $1,000 (all taxes and fees included) to London Stansted from either New York JFK or Washington, D.C. Dulles. Typically, their round-trip fares start from $1,500 round-trip, including taxes and fees. With this sale, there's no advance purchase or minimum stay required (yes, we got the same price for departing May 3 and returning on May 4). All you have to do to qualify for this fare is to use promotion code FSS406, and travel and book by June 2. The exact price we got, by the way, is $998.91.

Maxjet is an all business class airline. They offer one flight a day between New York and London, Sunday through Friday, and between Washington, D.C. and London on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Cheap Last-Minute Deals Between Miami and Punta Cana

LAN (tel. 866/435-9526; www.lan.com) is having a great last-minute sale between Miami and Punta Cana. There are really only two travel dates to choose from: depart on May 6 or 13, and return on May 13 or 20. But if you're able to pack your bags and go, it'll save you some cash. For example (round-trip, taxes and fees included):

  • Depart May 6, return May 13: $318 vs. $550 on American
  • Depart May 13, return May 20: $318 vs. $411 on Lan Chile through Travelocity, where the next lowest fare is $553 on US Airways

There are no specifics on when you must purchase this sale by.

Airline Contracts of Carriage

What are your rights if an airline delays or cancels your flight? If you misconnect? If they lose your luggage? The rules are interesting, especially for European carriers, which are governed under an entirely different set of regulations, promulgated by the EEC, than are U.S. airlines (interestingly, delay and misconnect rules are regulated by the EEC, but on U.S. carriers these issues aren't under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government, although lost baggage is). And these rules are very hard to find, unless you know where to look. That's why Airfarewatchdog.com has collected links to all the major U.S. airlines' rules as well as to those of several European carriers. These contracts might help you understand what to do the next time something goes bump in your flight.

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and other fare sales.

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