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Independence Day Weekend Deals

If you've flown lately, you know that the airlines aren't giving away seats like they used to. Planes are full, and fares are up. But United Airlines (tel. 800/864-8331; www.united.com) is offering quite spectacular E-fares between many of the cities it serves during the week of July 4th. You can leave on Sunday July 2, or Monday July 3; and return between July 3 and Thursday, July 6. Below are some sample round-trip fares without taxes and fees:

  • Chicago (ORD) to Charleston WV: $130
  • Chicago (ORD) to Lansing: $97
  • Dallas to Albuquerque: $158
  • Fresno to Boise: $149
  • Kansas City to Fargo: $154
  • San Francisco to Denver: $181

There are hundreds of other routes on sale. Book your ticket by June 30, 2006. Several other airlines are offering similar deals on a hit and miss basis, but they don't seem to be touting them on their websites, whereas United has an extensive list posted on its site.

Spirit Airlines (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) is having yet another weekly sale, this the sixth sale of the season, and code-named "FIMA." Many of these fares are the lowest available, if sometimes only by a little bit. Below are some sample round-trip fares, harvested from Travelocity.com, before taxes and fees.

  • Atlantic City to Cancun: $218 vs. next lowest $413 on Delta
  • Boston to Detroit: $88 vs. $98 on Northwest
  • Detroit to New York: $138 with American matching
  • Fort Lauderdale to Nassau: $98 vs. $113 on American
  • Myrtle Beach to Detroit: $158 vs. 176 on Northwest
  • Orlando to Montego Bay: $158 vs. 163 on Delta
  • Providence to Cancun: $184 vs. $203 on US Airways
  • Tampa to Nassau: $118 vs. $153 on American
  • Washington DCA to Detroit: $88 vs. 106 on Northwest

Some of these fares have been, or may be, matched by other airlines. Travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between August 15, 2006 and November 15, 2006. Purchase fares by July 2, 2006 with a 21-day advance purchase.

Two Free Nights in London

In an oft-repeated deal, British Airways (tel. 800/247-9297; www.ba.com) is "giving away" a two night hotel stay with its fares to London. The hotels are three and four starred properties, according to BA, and they'll also give you a $100 discount off a five-star property if you prefer. Book by June 29, 2006, and travel August 31, 2006 through October 25, 2006, or December 20, 2006 through December 24, 2006.

Summer Sale to Germany

Icelandair (tel. 800/223-5500; www.icelandair.net) has discounted fares to the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich in a sale tied to the World Cup ballyhoo. But there are several major problems with this sale. Although it's not too late to get to Germany for the final few soccer matches, all the flights are already sold out. To make matters worse, there are very few seats at the cheapest fares for other travel dates. In addition, other carriers have matched or beaten these sale fares. Some examples taken at random:

Depart July 25, Return August 2

  • Baltimore to Frankfurt: $1,035 vs. $1,026 on Continental
  • New York to Frankfurt: $937 vs. $833 on Singapore (and Singapore flies nonstop)

Depart August 21, Return September 3

  • Boston to Munich: $1,014 vs. $978 on British Airways
  • New York to Berlin: $832 vs. $626 on Continental

Depart through September 30, 2006. Travel Monday to Thursday for the cheapest fares. There is a Saturday night stay requirement.

New Delta Service to Accra and Mumbai

Delta Air lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) is celebrating its new nonstop service to Accra, Ghana and Mumbai, India from New York's JFK International Airport by offering the lowest fares available on these routes.

Depart November 22, Return November 30

  • New York to Mumbai: $1,166 vs. $1,278 on Kuwait Airways

Depart January 10, Return January 16

  • New York to Accra: $941 via Delta.com vs. several hundred dollars more on other airlines (to be honest, we had trouble finding any fares at all using our usual sources of Travelocity and Orbitz).

For Mumbai, service begins on November 1, 2006 and for Accra, service begins on December 11, 2006. Travel Mondays through Thursdays for the cheapest fares. There is a Saturday night stay requirement. Blackout dates are December 15, 2006 through December 25, 2006 for Accra; and December 8, 2006 through December 23, 2006 for Mumbai. Purchase your ticket by June 30, 2006.

ANA to Japan

All Nippon Airways (tel. 800/235-9262; www.anaskyweb.com) has launched a sale to various cities in Japan http://www.anaskyweb.com/us/ana_link/e/003.html). Below are some sample fares including taxes and fees:

Depart July 12, Return July 18

  • Honolulu to Osaka: $1,011 vs. $1,006 on United
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo: $938 vs. $772 on United

Depart August 23, Return September 1

  • New York to Tokyo: $1,284 vs. $1,093 on JAL
  • Washington to Nagoya: $1,141 with Northwest matching

This is one of the worst "sales" we've seen in a while. Seats are very difficult to find with ANA's booking engine stuck in the Stone Age. In addition, ANA's codeshare partner, United, has undercut many of the published sale fares. For the cheapest fares, travel on weekdays in late summer. These fares are only applicable on select ANA flights. Purchase your ticket by July 20, 2006.

EVA from San Francisco

EVA Air (tel. 800/695-1188; www.evaair.com) has launched a sale to various Asian cities from San Francisco. However, we could only find seats to Taipei; none of the other destinations could be booked. Still this remains a good deal for people flying to Taipei from San Francisco, even though the departure window is very short. Below are some sample fares including all taxes and fees:

Depart August 10, return August 24

  • San Francisco to Taipei: $935 vs. $1,267 on China Airlines

Depart August 13, Return September 7

  • San Francisco to Taipei: $935 vs. $1,204 on United

Depart between August 10, 2006 and August 15, 2006 with the lower fares on select dates and routes. Return within 30 days. Tickets must be purchased before July 1, 2006. These fares are only available on evaair.com and nowhere else.

Budapest, Kiev, or Manchester

Delta Air lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) has discounted fares from various cities to Budapest, Kiev, and Manchester. Below are some sample fares including all taxes and fees:

Depart September 18, Return September 25

  • Miami to Budapest: $839 vs. $769 on Finair
  • New York to Budapest: $762 vs. $733 on Finair

Depart October 5, Return

  • Detroit to Kiev: $966 vs. next lowest $997 on Air France
  • Los Angeles to Manchester: $706 vs. $644 on American

As you can see, most of these fares have been matched or beaten by other airlines. However, let's not forget that Delta flies nonstop and the other guys don't. For Budapest, depart September 1, 2006 through October 31, 2006. For Manchester, depart September 1, 2006 through October 25, 2006. For Kiev, depart September 6, 2006 through October 31, 2006. All travel must be completed by November 25, 2006. Purchase your tickets by July 11, 2006.

Scandinavian's $50 discount

Scandinavian Airlines (tel. 800/221-2350; www.flysas.com) is offering a $50 one-way discount on selected flights departing from Chicago, Newark, or Washington. Travel between July 15, 2006 and October 27, 2006 on flight numbers: SK903, SK904, SK909, SK910, SK925, SK926, SK945, SK946. Book your ticket by July 7, 2006. Tickets must be purchased by calling SAS reservations at 800/231-2350.

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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