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Frontier Spring Sale

If you're not the sort of traveler easily spooked by Chapter 11 filings, Frontier (tel. 800/432-1359; www.frontierairlines.com) is having a "Spring is in the Air" sale for travel through May 21. While the majority of the fares we checked were just so-so, we did salvage some pretty terrific round-trip deals to Sioux City and Spokane, including:

If you are a tad hesitant to purchase a fare from Frontier or other financially wobbly carriers, considering the recent streak of belly-up airlines, there are ways of protecting yourself. We suggest buying a refundable fare on another airline for the same travel dates. Sure, that refundable ticket will cost quite a bit more, but so will missing your $3,000 cruise, or your daughter's wedding, or failing to close that deal.

And don't forget: The Federal Fair Credit Billing Act states that if you buy anything on your credit card and fail to receive what you bought, you can contest the charge with your credit card company, in writing within 60 days of the date that the bill showing the charge is mailed to you. If your airline goes kaput, you'll get your money back.

Alaska Airlines Web Specials

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com offers consistently good Web Specials on their own site, and this latest batch is no exception. These round-trip fares are valid for travel April 28 through May 12, and include:

All tickets must be purchased by April 20, so snap to it.

Summer Business Class deals to Europe

If you've been shopping around for those peak summer tickets to Europe, you already know what you're up against. And sometimes the leap from a peak summer coach fare isn't so far from a discounted business class ticket, as is the case with the current sale from Continental (tel. 800/525-0280; www.continental.com. Fares are available for purchase one-way or round-trip, and are at their cheapest when purchased 60 days or more in advance, for departures from June 29 through August 29. Tickets purchased 30 days in advance are a bit higher, and are good for departures May 9 through August 29. The following are all round-trip fares that include all taxes:

All travel must be complete by September 5.

And Speaking of Biz Class BargainsÂ?

Silverjet (tel. 877/359-7458; www.flysilverjet.com, the all-business class airline flying from Newark to London's Luton Airport is offering: $919 one-way (plus tax) fares to London for travel in May and June. This sale ends at midnight on April 18, and it's (obviously) a very good deal.

If you've flown all business class, you know how uncrowded the planes are. And there's something nice about everyone being in the same "boat" -- no class warfare and no feeling guilty while everyone back in coach waits for you to deplane. Not to mention, Luton is far easier to navigate than Heathrow.

Air New Zealand: Los Angeles to London for Spring/Fall

When a friend recently asked our advice on the best way to shuffle between Los Angeles to London, we were quick to recommend Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com. And if you're looking to fly this route anytime soon, their latest sale -- good for travel throughout May, and again through September and early October -- will give you all the more reason:

  • Los Angeles to London: $668 round-trip, including all taxes

Also offered is premium economy for $1,399 and business for $2,954 round-trip. Check out Airnewzealand.com for more on those and all their current web specials.

Beijing Olympic Fares

If you've still got game and choose to put politics aside, it's not too late to snag a decent deal to Beijing in time for the Olympics. By far, the best fare we're finding these days is on China Southern Airlines from Los Angeles for $976 round-trip including taxes. It does involve a lengthy layover in Guangzhou, but the sizable savings should make it worthwhile, and even if you add the cost of a connecting flight to LAX from your hometown, you're still likely to come out ahead.

Needless to say, this fare is only available for a few days of travel and can be a bit tricky to find, but we've pinned down at least 5 different itineraries for July and August travel. If all else fails, the same airline offers widely available non-stop flights to Guangzhou starting at $938 for peak summer travel. How you make your way from there to Beijing is up to the adventurer in you.

Visit our Beijing and Guangzhou fare pages to see all available fares.

Allegiant Air's New Seasonal Service to/from Bellingham

Little Allegiant Air (tel. 888/594-6937; www.allegiantair.com just announced new service to/from San Franciso and San Diego to/from Bellingham. Flights to/from San Fran begin June 6 and to/from San Diego on June 12, both 3 times weekly. As always, all flights are nonstops in both directions. Introductory fares begin at $59.00 in the case of San Fran and $69.00 for San Diego. Purchases must be made by May 10, 2008 only on Allegiant's site. Seats are limited, fares non-refundable and travel is permitted through August 31, 2008. We even found some of Allegiant's ever famous single digit fares ($8.00) heading TO Bellingham from each of these new destinations. These come and go and are only isolated, found in June at this printing. Remember, the above fares are one-ways, as Allegiant permits one-way travel at half the round-trip fare we list. Grab 'em while they're hot. Probably won't last long!

How to Avoid Economy Class Crunch

Have you noticed that padding on airline seats is getting thinner? Back in the days of the Lockheed Constellation and the DC-6, seats used to be less punishing -- they were more like the cushy La-Z-Boys your dad used to lounge in. But don't expect to find anything similar your next economy-class flight. Today, in order to save fuel and squeeze in more passengers, the padding has been minimized -- and, as we all know, the rows of seats have been placed closer together. All of this adds up to considerable discomfort, unless you happen to have a well-padded back porch. Click here for some strategies from Airfarewatchdog.com to alleviate the pain.

Mergers: What'll it Cost you?

With the proposed merger of Delta and Northwest, what's in the cards for airfares? Many consumers are worried that consolidation will bring higher fares, especially if Continental, American, US Air and United also hear wedding bells ringing. But that ain't necessarily so. )Find out why over on the Airfarewatchdog blog.

* Additional Reporting by Tracy W. Stewart, Bo Borre, and Alisa Brayman

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