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Air France Sale: Just Say 'Non'

Air France (tel. 800/237-2747; www.airfrance.com) is having a sale on fall travel to international destinations from select U.S. cities. Tickets must be purchased by August 17 for departures from September 10 to October 28. But before you go booking anything, let's have a look at their sample fares vs. our findings:

  • Philadelphia to Paris $402 each-way. We found the advertised each-way fare of $402 readily available for most of September, and chose the 18th through the 25th as our travel dates. That comes to about $905 round-trip, taxes and all. The best we found on Orbitz for these same dates is $851 round-trip, including tax, on a United/Lufthansa share.
  • New York to Athens $366 each-way. Again, the advertised fare is easy to find throughout the flexible search calendar. We chose October 12 through October 20, giving us a fare of $879 round-trip, including taxes. We checked Orbitz for the same trip and found a fare of $817 round-trip, with taxes, on Olympic Airlines, non-stop.
  • Los Angeles to Rome $473 each-way. Departing October 15 and returning October 26, that $473 each-way, with taxes, comes to a whopping $1,056 round-trip. American Airlines has this same trip for a slightly lower $1,045 round-trip on Orbitz.
  • Seattle to Paris $527 each-way. Using October 2 through October 10 as our dates of travel, we found $525 each-way, or $1,157 round-trip, including taxes. We checked Orbitz and found a lower fare of $899 round-trip, with taxes, on Scandinavian Airlines.
  • Boston to Prague $423 each-way. For October 15 through October 25, we found a $396 each-way fare available on the flexible search calendar, giving us a total of $908 round-trip, including taxes. By plugging these dates into Orbitz, we were able to find a lower fare of $785 round-trip, taxes and all, on a United/Czech Air share.

As you can see, these Air France "sale" fares were higher in every example we checked. Unless you're especially loyal to Air France, we say there are lower fares to be had. Do a little shopping around.

Savings on JetBlue

Use your Amex card when booking travel on JetBlue.com and save $15 off a one-way fare. Booking a round-trip flight? Take $30 off then. This is valid for travel between September 5 and October 31, excluding Friday/Sunday flights, and must be booked by July 31. The early bird catches the worm and all that, we guess.

JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) also happens to be having a sale on fall travel. The rules vary a bit according to route, but most require that you book by August 8 for travel no later than November 14.

Some sample fares include:

New Year's in New Zealand & Summer in Australia

Hey, what are you doing New Year's Eve? Oh, don't worry, we aren't asking you out or anything. I mean, not that we haven't considered, uhm, asking you out before. You're good-looking, oh, and really smart too, but really we just wanted to tell you about an Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) sale on New Year's travel, see? Depart from Los Angeles December 25 through December 29, or December 31 for $1,428 round-trip to Auckland. Better still, this sale includes a free stopover in Fiji or the Cook Islands. And remember, this is all peak season over there. Sample fares include:

  • San Francisco to Auckland for $1,538 round-trip
  • Los Angeles to Christchurch for $1,527 round-trip
  • San Francisco to Queenstown for $1,726 round-trip
  • Los Angeles to Wellington for $1,504 round-trip

Book by July 31, and remember that flights from L.A. to Fiji only operate on Mondays, and to the Cook Islands only on Sunday. Seats are pretty limited on return flights in the beginning of January, so you may be coming home later than you'd like.

If you just can't wait for New Year's, Air New Zealand is having another sale on late summer travel to Australia. The same Fiji/Cook Islands stopover deal applies to these fares too:

Hot Fares from Alaska Airlines

We saw a lot of activity around Alaska this week. Delta had some great deals there, like New York to Anchorage for $336 round-trip, which, of course, didn't stick around for long. Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com) still has a slew of these deals available from the west coast, this being their turf and all. Have a look:

Additional Reporting by Tracy W. Stewart, Grace Park, and Jonathan Williams

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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