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Air France Business Class Sale

Just now getting around to planning that August trip to Europe? Well, fares won't exactly be cheap, not this late in the game. Considering the money you'll spend just to squeeze in coach, you're not so far away from a business class fare. Might as well go Biz, right? That's the persuasive logic behind Air France's (tel. 800/237-2747; www.airfrance.us) August Business Sale, at least. How does it compare with other Business Class fares out there? Voila:

  • Detroit to London, advertised as $957 one-way. Checking for travel from August 1 through August 9, we had no problem finding that $957 one-way fare, which comes to $2,196 round-trip, taxes and all. We searched Orbitz for business class flights on these dates, between Detroit and London, and Air France was listed at number one with a fare of $2,207 round-trip, with taxes.
  • New York to Paris, advertised as $1,308 one-way. Using August 14 through August 22 as our dates of travel, we easily found the advertised fare of $1,308. Round-trip and with taxes, you're looking at a fare of $2,764. Plug in these dates on Orbitz, and you'll find a biz class fare of $2,176 round-trip, with taxes, on American Airlines. And better yet, all-business class newbie airline L'Avion (tel. 866/692-6759; us.lavion.com), which operates between Newark and Paris, has a much better fare for these dates. Round-trip, taxes and all, we found $1,693.
  • Miami to Madrid, advertised as $1,137. This fare isn't as easy to come by, but we did find it for August 9, combined with a $1,138 return fare for August 21, for a total of $2,375 round-trip, with taxes. We found a slightly lower by-a-nose fare of $2,351 round-trip with American Airlines by searching Orbitz.
  • San Francisco to Florence, advertised as $1,478. We searched for travel from August 8 through August 20 and found a total round-trip fare of $3,079, with taxes. That's far better than our $5,985 fare with British Airways in our Orbitz results for these dates.
  • Los Angeles to Vienna, advertised as $1,425. For travel from August 1 through August 16, we found a fare of $2,982 round-trip, with taxes. Our follow-up search on Orbitz also lists Air France as having the best fare, at $2,986 round-trip, with taxes.

These are some pretty terrific fares for summer business class travel, especially from the west coast. And the Air France web site makes it a snap to locate low fares, scroll through the flexible date calendar and find what you're after. All purchases must be made by July 13, so get a move on.

Air New Zealand Premium Economy Class to London

Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) is having a similar sale on their Pacific Premium Economy Class from Los Angeles to London, good for travel from June 29 through September 28. Premium Economy shares the same cabin as the business class folks, along with the same snacks, plus you'll have the extra legroom to stretch and practice your scissor kicks or whatever it is you like to do with your extra legroom. Fares begin at $1,455, or about $1,698 with taxes. Again, not bad considering what it costs to fly nonstop between Los Angeles and London in coach, back where there is no room for scissor kicks. All travel must be booked by August 31, which you can do directly on the company's website.

USA 3000 Summer Solstice Sale

Did last Thursday feel especially long? More droning than most other days? Well, it was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. And USA 3000 (tel. 877/872-3000; www.usa3000.com) is having a Summer Solstice Sale, good until April 10. Book by July 5, and save $20 ($10 each way) on your trip. Just enter SOLSTICE in the promo code box as you book. This sale is also good for USA 3000's new routes, set to launch this winter, which include Ft Lauderdale to Pittsburgh, Melbourne to Baltimore, and Sarasota to Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.

Aloha Airlines West Coast Sale

Aloha Airlines (tel. 800/367-5250; www.alohaairlines.com) is having a sale to Hawaii, good for travel from August 20 through August 30. Are the savings as tiny as the length of the sale? Let's see:

  • San Diego to Kahului, advertised as $139 each-way. Searching for August 21 through August 28, the best we saw was $214 there and $299 returning, giving us a grand total of $547 round-trip. On Orbitz, we found a lower fare of $468 round-trip, including taxes, with ATA.
  • Oakland to Honolulu, advertised as $159 each-way. Using August 21 through August 29 as our dates of travel, we found $198 outbound and $167 inbound, for a total of $384 round-trip. Again, not exactly what is advertised. By plugging these same dates on Orbitz, we were able to score a much lower fare of $310 round-trip, again with ATA.
  • Orange County to Hilo, advertised as $279 each-way. We found $279 outbound for August 24 and $279 inbound for August 30, for a total of $604 round-trip, including all taxes. We found a better fare of $512 round-trip, including taxes, on an American/ATA/Alaska Airlines share by searching the same dates on Orbitz.
  • Sacramento to Kahului, advertised as $229 each-way. We found $229 outbound for August 22 and $229 inbound for August 30, which adds up to $492 round-trip, including all taxes. Our follow-up search on Orbitz lists Aloha in first place with a fare of $518 round-trip, including taxes.
  • San Diego to Honolulu, advertised as $189 each-way. We found $261 outbound for August 21 and $285 inbound for August 25, for a total of $592 round-trip, with taxes. Orbitz lists a lower fare of $534 round-trip, shared among Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha. Or for $569, fly nonstop on Hawaiian.

Aloha's fares were beaten in almost every example we checked, making for a pretty mediocre sale. You're better off checking ATA or, our next sale up for review ...

Hawaiian Airlines West Coast Sale

Hawaiian Airlines (tel. 800/367-5320; www.hawaiianair.com) is having a sale and, unlike the Aloha sale, this one is good for travel from July 1 through August 19, which we like already. Some sample fares include:

  • Los Angeles to Honolulu, starting from $580. We found a fare of $582 round-trip, including tax, for our travel dates of July 11 through July 18. Hawaiian checks out to be the best deal on Orbitz for these dates as well.
  • Portland to Kahului, starting from $415. For August 7 through August 15, we found $416 round-trip, with tax. Again, a follow-up search on Orbitz puts Hawaiian in the lead.
  • Phoenix to Honolulu, starting from $615. Again, we found a fare lower than advertised; $548 round-trip, including tax, for July 18 through July 25. Hawaiian is the best deal for our Orbitz search for these dates too.
  • Sacramento to Honolulu, starting from $555. For August 7 through August 15, we found $518 round-trip, including tax. And again, Orbitz lists Hawaiian as the lowest fare for this trip.

So there you have it. If you plan to do Hawaii this summer, the best fares are on Hawaiian Airlines.

Additional Reporting by Tracy William Stewart

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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