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Midwest Summer Sale

Midwest (tel. 800/452-2022; www.midwestairlines.com) is having a summer sale, but you'd better hurry! This one ends April 27, and is good for travel from May 5 through August 31. That should keep you covered for summer, right? Fares require a 14-day advance purchase and a minimum stay of 1-3 days. Travel to/from Los Angeles begins April 28 and requires just a 7-day advance purchase. Seats are limited!

Spring/Summer Fares to Dublin Still Going Strong

We've mentioned them in previous weeks, and they continue to stick around. Fares to Dublin are beyond cheap for travel in spring and even summer. We might expect to find fares like these in the dead of post-holiday January and February, but for summer? We're clutching our pearls in shock! And for those who had their hearts set on traveling elsewhere in Europe, keep in mind that Dublin makes for an excellent jumping point, what with Irish budget carrier Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flying to just about anywhere. To coordinate travel onward, we suggest a site like Whichbudget (www.whichbudget.com) or Wegolo (www.wegolo.com).

For a complete listing, check out our Dublin Fares Page.

Alaska Airlines: Deep Daily Discounts Not So Deep

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) is currently running a 14-day promo, good for 30% off select cities. Destinations are revealed daily at midnight, and the discount is added by entering a promo code listed on their site. Is it any good? Meh. We checked out their recent fares to Edmonton and, pre-discount, found them to be higher than any other airline. Even after adding the promo code, the discounts we we're seeing were more like 10% rather than 30%. For example, the base fare for Los Angeles/Edmonton is almost $300, and the discount is $37.50. Dust off the old abacus and you'll see, that's not a 30% discount.

And when Cancun was their featured destination, we checked flights from Los Angeles. Our advertised base fare was $392, minus a discount of $108, bringing us down to $284, or $345 with taxes. Checking against Travelocity, we found a $375 round-trip flight (including taxes) also on Alaska Air. So Alaskaair.com does have a slightly better fare, but definitely not 30% cheaper. Granted, taxes on fares to Mexico always run about $100 or so, but taxes are not subject to the discount. We expected there to be a bigger difference between these fares on Alaskaair.com vs. Travelocity.

A Tale of Two Fares

Quick question: Would you rather fly 4 or 5 hours nonstop on WestJet (tel. 800/538-5696; www.westjet.com) from Newark to Calgary for $243 round-trip? OR, would you prefer paying $401 round-trip to spend 9-10 hours flying and making a connecting flight? It's kind of a no-duh, but the more expensive, gruelingly lengthy trip was listed as the best deal on Kayak (which means it's also going to be listed as the best deal on Orbitz, Travelocity, or any other ATPCO-powered site). We found the cheaper nonstop by searching directly on Canadian budget carrier WestJet's website. WestJet, like so many airlines these days, does not share its best fares -- or any fares at all -- with online travel agencies and meta search engines. Check out the screen grabs here for a more detailed comparison.

Singapore Airlines Anniversary Sale Ends Soon

Time's a ticking on the these great deals to Singapore. As part of their 30th Anniversary in the USA promo, Singapore Airlines (tel. 800/742-3333; www.singaporeair.com) is offering some super fares for travel to Singapore from select US cities. Fares must be purchased by April 30, for outbound travel between now and May 31, with a maximum stay of 6 months. Fares include:

An Airline That's Actually Making Money & Has Strong Stock?

Yes, that airline exists and its called Allegiant (tel. 888/594-6937; www.allegiantair.com). Amazingly, Allegiant reported $26.16 million in profits in Q1 2009, a 191.2 percent increase from the second quarter of 2008, and its stock has zoomed from a 52 week low of $15.89 to a close yesterday of $54.70, according to this article in the NW Arkansas Morning News. So apparently you can make money in the airline biz if you sell a lot of packages and Blue Man Group tickets, charge a lot of extra fees, and fly nonstop routes between small US airports and popular vacation and convention destinations. Airfarewatchdog is the only airfare listing and alert site that tracks Allegiant's fares.

US DOT Says Int'l Airlines Ignoring Bag Rules

Plan on packing Grandma's jewels along on your next big international trip? Maybe your computer equipment or swarovski encrusted George Foreman Grill or whatever other bourgie blingy valuables your airline claims they won't be responsible for should they be damaged, lost, or stolen? At least that's what it says in their contracts of carriage. But wait a sec. Why should airlines be magically exempt from the old code of You Break It, You Buy It? Maybe they're not. By treaty, these rules cannot apply to international travel between the US and foreign destinations, or so says the Department of Transportation in a recent Travel Weekly article. The treaty in question is the Montreal Convention, as revised in 1999 under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

As the article points out, even if an airline prohibits passengers from packing certain items in their checked baggage, once a an airline accepts it, whatever is in it is protected. Of course, making an international airline, or any airline, cough up the cash when they bungle up your belongings in another matter.

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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