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Major Sale to Hawaii

Delta Air Lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) launched a big sale to Hawaii recently that most major airlines have matched. Here is a sampling of the many round-trip fares that are available. Click on the links for more information and booking details.

Check out Airfarewatchdog's Honolulu and Maui pages for a more complete listing of the hundreds of available fares. Travel any day except Saturday through September 30, 2006.

Midwest Airlines Sale

Midwest Airlines (tel. 800/452-2022; www.midwestairlines.com) has discounted fares for Fall and Winter travel. Here are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart August 22, Return August 26

  • Milwaukee to/from Des Moines: $192 vs. $174 on Delta
  • Nashville to Kansas City: $209 vs. $136 on Northwest

Depart November 14, Return November 29

  • Milwaukee to/from Ft. Lauderdale: $202 vs. $225 on American
  • Kansas City to/from Louisville: $186 vs. $189 on Northwest

Depart January 16, Return January 25

  • Cleveland to/from Minneapolis: $236 vs. $218 on Northwest
  • Minneapolis to/from Kansas City: $226 vs. $332 on Northwest

As you can see, most of these fares are being matched by other carriers, although keep in mind that Midwest flies nonstop on many of these routes and the other airlines don't. However, for August and September travel, other airlines have sales with lower fares, so we suggest you look at those first. Still, this is a good deal for winter travel and is valid for flights up to Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007. Purchase your ticket by August 8, 2006 with a 14-day advance purchase requirement.

AA's So-So Deal to Mexico and the Caribbean

American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) is offering a sale on travel to Mexico and the Caribbean. Below are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart September 12, Return September 22

  • Boston to Freeport, Bahamas: $323 vs. $339 on Airtran
  • Chicago to Los Cabo Mexico: $463 vs. $466 on Continental

Depart October 16, Return October 23

  • Los Angeles to Bonaire, Netherlands AN: $493 vs. next lowest $617 on US found via Orbitz.com
  • New York to Montego Bay: $330 vs. $317 on Air Jamaica

As you can see, most of these fares have been matched by other carriers, so by shopping around you may find a better deal. Travel outbound between August 7, 2006 and December 11, 2006. Return travel must be completed by December 13, 2006. Purchase your ticket by August 16, 2006.

Atlanta to Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, and Nice

Delta Air Lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) has discounted some International Routes from its Atlanta hub. Seats are easy to find except for the Nice route. Here are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart August 16 Return August 22

  • Atlanta to Dusseldorf: $718 vs. $889 on American
  • Atlanta to Edinburgh: $884 vs. $1,014 on Continental

As you can see, these are great fares for late summer travel to Europe. Depart between August 4, 2006 and August 31, 2006. Complete travel by September 30, 2006. Book your ticket by August 15, 2006.

Italy on Eurofly

Eurofly (tel. 800/459-0581; www.euroflyusa.com), an Italian low cost carrier, has a great deal on travel to various Italian destinations from New York's JFK Airport. Below are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart October 13, Return October 22

  • New York to Rome $788 vs. $761 on Alitalia

Depart October 19, Return October 27

  • New York to Bologna $788 vs. $798 on Alitalia

As you can see, Alitalia has matched most of these sale fares. Although Eurofly offers nonstop service, Alitalia offers daily service, so there are advantages and drawbacks to both carriers. Travel between October 1, 2006 and October 27, 2006. Prices higher on other dates. Service operates on selected dates.

Jamaica Deal from Miami

Air Jamaica is having a sale between Miami and its home airports in Jamaica. Below are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart August 15, Return August 22

  • Miami to Montego Bay: $274 with AA matching
  • Miami to Kingston: $275 with AA matching

Obviously, American Airlines has matched these promotional fares, but Air Jamaica's fares are all on nonstops. Purchase your ticket and travel before November 15, 2006. There is a two-night minimum stay and a 30-night maximum stay.

China Travel Pass

China Southern (tel. 888/338-8988; www.cs-air.com) has introduced an Air Pass for travel within China. Starting at $329, you get three flight segments for travel to most destinations in China. There is an additional charge for some of the longer flights. The price of the pass increases as you add more segments up to a maximum of ten flights. To get the pass one must purchase an in-bound China Southern International ticket originating from the Americas, Australia, Europe or The Middle East. You may choose to reserve your intra-China travel in advance or after you have arrived in China. This offer is good until May 2007.

How do those fat finger fares happen?

Ever wonder how those airfare mistakes, like the now infamous 88 cent coast-to-coast round-trips on US Air a couple of Aprils ago, happen? Or those $0 round-trips to Acapulco on American? Usually, it's just simple human error. Each airline employs a fairly large team of fare analysts, whose job it is to monitor traffic on specific parts of their route network. These people also monitor what their competition is charging, and they work under a great deal of pressure. In some cases, these analysts will do "bulk" updates of fares, telling their computer systems, for example, to lower all fares from a given set of cities or in a certain fare class by $10. What if they type $100 by accident into a database field? Well, all those fares go down by $100. And since domestic fares are only updated three times a day during the week, and once a day on weekends, those fare mistakes can stick around for quite a while (those US Air fares did indeed pop up on a Saturday).

According to one analyst we spoke to off the record, whoever makes a mistake like this gets ribbed by his or her fellow analysts for weeks afterward, but they don't get fired. "It's going to happen to everyone at least 2 or 3 times in your career," this person says. "Your boss will tell you how many thousands of dollars you cost the airline, but that's about it."

Additional Reporting by David Shan

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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