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Qantas Goes Lower on Its Website

Qantas (tel. 800/227-4500; www.qantas.com) is having a sale to New Zealand, with some good fares. Plus, their flexible date search makes finding the cheap seats easier. Travel Monday-Wednesday, April 1-May 31, or other days for $50 more round-trip. For $100 additional, you can travel August 1-September 21. Example savings: You can fly from Los Angeles to Auckland on April 4, returning a week later, for $859 RT including taxes, nonstop flights. That same itinerary booked elsewhere (such as Orbitz.com) will cost you $972 RT on Qantas, or $1,188 RT on Air New Zealand, which also flies nonstop. From New York JFK to Auckland leaving on May 5 and returning May 14, you'll pay $1,198 RT on Qantas, with a stop in LA; or a next lowest $1,307 RT if you book the same flights via Travelocity, also on Qantas (American, United, and Air New Zealand are charging around $1,500 on those dates). You'll do less well, however, searching from some other US cities. We found fares as high as $1,500 RT from Washington, for instance, for travel during May using Qantas' site, but obviously you can fly from Washington to Los Angeles and back for far less than $700, so you're much better off buying a separate fare Washington/LAX and then hopping on Qantas to Auckland from there. But generally, this is a bona fide sale, and clearly you should always check Qantas' web site directly when booking fares Down Under. Fares to other New Zealand cities are also available during this sale, which runs until February 28, 2007.

$75 Fiesta Fares to Mexico

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) is celebrating their 75th anniversary with Fiesta Fares to Mexico for as little as $75 one-way, before taxes. These fares are good for travel through May 23 (excluding blackout dates: March 23-31; April 1-10) and must be purchased by February 12. Here are a few sample fares:

Southwest Airlines $49 Sale

Southwest Airlines (tel. 800/435-9792; www.southwest.com) is having a system-wide sale, with fares ranging from around $49 to $169 one-way. These sale fares are good for travel through May 10 and must be booked by February 22. Also, all travel within California is only $49 one-way, as well as within the Midwest. Below are a few sample fares:

  • Chicago to Nashville $49
  • Kansas City to Tulsa $49
  • St Louis to Detroit $49
  • Portland to Boise $49
  • Spokane to Oakland $79
  • Long Island to Albuquerque $99

Jolly Old London Sale

United Airlines' (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com) Jolly Old London sale may not be your best bet for low fares to London. We found Chicago to London in mid-March for $532, which isn't that bad but we've seen better. In fact, try Air Canada's international sale. Using the same dates that we used on United, we found Chicago to London for $491 on Air Canada. Also worth looking into is Air Canada's advertised Chicago to Rome fare of $282 each way, based on round-trip purchase. Using their flexible date search, we were able to find $660 round-trip, with tax for March 16-March 21. That may seem like quite a jump from that advertised one-way untaxed $282, but a secondary search on itasoftware.com listed Poland's LOT Airlines as having the lowest fare at $698 for the exact same trip. In fact, ITA ranks Air Canada as the 10th lowest fare of $795. Considering that last April, airfarewatchdog.com team members found summer time fares to London for $400-$470 roundtrip, tax included, these fares still seem high to us. So we'd hold out for a real sale.

Winter Can't Be This Miserable Everywhere

AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com) is having a system-wide "Winter Can't Be This Miserable Everywhere" Sale, with fares as low as $29 one-way. This sale is good for travel through May 23 and must be booked by February 13. The lowest of these fares are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. A sampling:

Northwest Airlines Europe Sale

Northwest Airlines (tel. 800/225-2525; www.nwa.com) is having a sale to Europe. Advertised fares include Detroit to London for $209 each way, based on round-trip purchase. This comes out to be $549, round-trip with taxes, which we found on the airline's website for mid-March travel. Using the same dates, we were able to find a nonstop flight on British Airways for $515; a far better deal. Northwest also lists Boston to Amsterdam for $218 each way, based on round-trip purchase, which comes to $611 round-trip with taxes. Strangely enough, a search on www.itasoftware.com turned up a fare of $530 round-trip with taxes, also on Northwest. Why this fare didn't appear on Northwest's own site, we're not sure, but it just goes to show that it pays to search multiple sites. You never know what you may find.

Other sale fares include Minneapolis to London for $227 each way, or about $606 round-trip with tax which we found on Northwest's website. Once again found a cheaper fare ($561) on Northwest by searching itasoftware.com, using the same dates. Not that these fares are any great shakes, really. But visitors to airfarewatchdog.com over the weekend were alerted to some European fares that were pretty amazing: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and some other western cities to Frankfurt or Paris -- for April and May travel no less -- for $450 to $500 roundtrip, taxes included. Those fares are gone, but don't give up hope.

SAS Summer Sale

Planning your summer trip to Europe? SAS (tel. 800-221/2350; www.flysas.com) is having a sale on flights to Scandinavia, with advertised fares as low as $460 each way, based on round-trip purchase. We found Newark to Stockholm in late June for $996 round-trip, including tax. Sure, summer travel to Europe can be costly, especially to Scandinavian destinations, but this does strike us as being a tad too expensive to call a "sale". A second search on www.itasoftware.com turned up a slightly cheaper fare on United Airlines for $912, but with a string of inconvenient layovers.

Luckily, it's pretty early in the season and we have a hunch that something better may come along. Also, when searching for destinations in Scandinavia or Eastern Europe, which tend to be more expensive, it's a good idea to fly into a cheaper Western European city such as London or Brussels and try searching a smaller European budget airline for flights departing from that city. You can really save yourself a heap of money, especially during the summer season.

Aeroflot Airlines Moscow Sale

We rarely see sale fares to Moscow, but Aeroflot Airlines (tel. 888/686-4949; http://usa.aeroflot.aero/eng/) has New York/Washington, D.C. to Moscow for $459 round-trip, and from Los Angeles for $579. We searched for New York to Moscow for mid-March and, once you add in taxes, the sale fare ends up being $591. Still pretty good for Moscow but we tried to find something better and we did. Ukraine-based Aerosvit Airlines (tel. 888/661-1620; www.aerosvit.ua/eng) has New York to Moscow on the exact same dates for $547 round-trip, all taxes included. This fare does come with a layover in Kiev, so you may actually be better off paying the extra $44 for the nonstop on Aeroflot. These sale fares are good for travel through March 31, and are fairly easy to find on the Aeroflot website. Be sure to use the flexible date search.

JetBlue's Coast-to-Coast Sale

Need to get from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, or vice versa? JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) is having a Coast to Coast sale, with fares starting at $69 one-way, before tax. These fares are not being matched by the other airlines, as we write anyway, and even if they are matched, JetBlue flies nonstop and has XM radio and satellite TV, so there (we expect that Continental will match the fares to/from Newark, if history is any judge). Purchases must be made by February 8, and fares are good for travel through March 27, except February 17-20, for Monday-Wednesday and Saturday travel. Also, remember that these fares work one-way as well. Here's a few sample fares:

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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