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Airtran Sale

AirTran (tel. 800/247-8726; www.airtran.com) is having yet another big sale covering all their destinations, with fares starting as low as $39 one-way (round-trip purchase not required). These "from $39" sales are almost weekly now, and without them we'd all be paying a lot more for air travel. Delta and US Air quickly matched Airtran on some but not all routes. Sample one-way fares before taxes and fees:

As is often the case with these Airtran sales, if you're flying on the longer-haul routes and you're flexible you'll find lower fares on other airlines:

For the lowest fares, travel Tuesday or Wednesday through November 15, 2006. Fares are higher on other days, and this sale doesn't apply to Friday or Sunday travel. A 14-day advance purchase is required. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59 PM EST on July 11, 2006.

Delta's Atlanta Sale

Delta Air lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) is having a sale between Atlanta and select cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Here are some sample fares, not including taxes and fees:

Depart July 19, Return July 26

  • Atlanta to Ponce PR: $366 vs. $350 on Continental (we've seen this route much lower, so wait until there's a real sale if you can)

Depart July 30, Return August 4

  • Atlanta to Pinehurst NC: $214
  • Atlanta to Wilmington DE: $194

(Other than Delta, there is no regularly scheduled commercial service between Atlanta and Pinehurst or Wilmington.)

Depart August 8, Return August 15

  • Atlanta to Rochester, NY: $198, matched by Airtran

Travel any day through August 31, 2006. Purchase by July 12, 2006 with a 7 day advance purchase. There is a one night minimum stay requirement. We found the lowest Delta fares on delta.com rather than on third party booking engines, so we suggest you try there first.

July Deal of the Month: Bangkok

Cathay Pacific (tel. 800/233-2742; www.cathay-usa.com) has chosen Bangkok to be their deal of month (http://www.cathay-usa.com/dotm/dotm.asp) for July. This sale, probably in response to Malaysia's deal last month, offers some excellent prices for fall travel to Thailand. Below are some sample fares including all taxes and fees:

Depart September 13, Return September 21

  • Los Angeles to Bangkok: $755 vs. next lowest $804 on China Airlines
  • New York to Bangkok: $905 vs. $953 on Malaysia

Depart October 13, Return October 28

  • Los Angeles to Bangkok: $755 vs. $811 on EVA
  • San Francisco to Bangkok: $755 vs. $893 on EVA

This is a great deal for travel to Thailand and seats are very easy to find. Depart between September 1, 2006 and November 30, 2006 from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Purchase your ticket by July 31, 2006.

Aeromexico's 15 Percent Discount

Aeromexico (tel. 800/237-6639; www.aeromexico.com) is offering a 15 percent discount on travel to Mexico originating from the U.S. This is a great way to save money on your next trip to Mexico when you take one of Aeromexico's 20 daily flights from the U.S. To get the discount, purchase your ticket on www.aeromexico.com and remember to enter the Promotion Code: AMDZV. Travel through December 15, 2006.

BMI to Manchester, England

BMI (tel. 800/788-0555; www.flybmi.com) has announced a fare sale on its two nonstop routes to Manchester, England from Chicago and Las Vegas. However it is very difficult to find seats on the Las Vegas route. In addition, we found lower fares on BMI via Travelocity than on BMI via BMI's own site. (This kind of thing does happen from time to time, so we're not really surprised.) Below are some sample round-trip fares with comparisons culled from Travelocity, including all taxes and fees:

Depart September 7, Return September 17

  • Chicago to Manchester: $660 promotional BMI fare vs. $610 regular BMI fare vs. $635 on American
  • Las Vegas to Manchester: $782 BMI promotional fare vs. $657 regular BMI fare vs. $695 on US Airways

In general, these "all in" fares are quite good for late summer/early fall travel to England. Travel September 1, 2006 through October 31, 2006. Book your ticket by July 13, 2006.

A So-So Sale to Australia

Qantas Airways (tel. 800/227-4500; www.qantas.com.au) is offering a sale on fares to Australia from various U.S. gateways for late summer and fall travel. Below are some sample fares including all taxes and fees:

Depart August 29, Return September 8

  • Boston to Cairns: $1,650 vs. $1,573 on United
  • Los Angeles to Sydney: $1,064 vs. $1,084 on United

Depart September 11, Return September 18

  • San Francisco to Melbourne: $1,163 vs. $1,228 on United
  • Washington to Brisbane: $1,579 vs. $1,474 on United (found on Orbitz)

So this Qantas sale is nothing to write home about, and we've seen much better fares in the recent past (we've also seen them higher, of course). United has beaten many of the fares when departing from the East Coast and is closely following the rest. Travel between August 1, 2006 and September 21, 2006. For $100 additional, travel September 22 through December 8, 2006. Purchase by July 14, 2006.

Business Class to Europe

United Airlines (tel. 800/864-8331; www.united.com) has joined Continental and Delta by having a summer sale on business class travel to Europe. Here are some sample fares including all taxes and fees:

Depart August 10, Return August 27

  • Cleveland to Brussels: $2,529 with Continental matching
  • San Francisco: $2,948 vs. next lowest $3,012 on Lufthansa

Depart September 2, Return September 14

  • Buffalo to London: $2,580 with US matching
  • Indianapolis to Zurich: $2,530 with Delta matching

As you can see, most of these business class fares are being matched by other airlines, which doesn't mean that they're not bargains compared to what business class traditionally costs. Depart July 28, 2006 through September 3, 2006 and complete travel by October 3, 2006. There is a Saturday night stay requirement. Purchase your ticket by August 3, 2006 with a 30-day advance purchase requirement, which is fewer days than on most other airlines offering discounted biz class.

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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