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Continental Business Class Summer Sale to Europe

Continental (tel. 800/525-0280; www.continental.com) is having a sale on business class summer travel to Europe. Fares begin at $799 one-way, based on round-trip purchase. This deal is good for departures from July 1 through August 31 and from July 10 through August 25 for France. All travel must be complete by September 6, or September 1 for France and Belgium.

  • Newark to Belfast is $1,833 round-trip, with tax, on Continental, leaving on June 6 and returning on June 14. Our search on Orbitz (www.orbitz.com) for the lowest business class fare also puts Continental at the top of the list with the same fare.
  • Newark to Brussels is $1,694 round-trip, with tax, on Continental, leaving on June 19 and returning August 1. Good luck finding a business class non-stop for this route, especially at this price. The next best thing is US Airways' $2,554 fare for this route, but that's including a pesky layover in Washington, D.C. Pay more to wait more? No thank-you.
  • Newark to Stockholm is $2,074 round-trip, with tax, on Continental, using July 10 through July 19 as our travel dates. That's quite a deal compared to the $5,938 round-trip biz class non-stop we found on Orbitz for this route with Malaysia Airlines and SAS.
  • Newark to Milan is $2,996 round-trip, with tax, on Continental, using July 3 through July 12 as our travel dates. Searching Orbitz on these dates, we found $2,599 round-trip on Air Portugal, although it includes a layover. The next best non-stop biz class is with Alitalia for $3,091 round-trip.

This is a great deal for transatlantic business class travel, especially in the peak of summer. Heck, in some cases, it's almost the same as summer coach fares.

Qantas New York to Australia Sale

Qantas (tel. 800/227-4500; www.qantas.com) is having a sale on travel from New York to Australia, good for departures from May 1 through June 4, and August 1 through August 31. All purchases must be made by April 6.

  • We found New York to Sydney for $1,316 round-trip, with tax, using June 3 through June 11 as our travel dates. On Orbitz, the cheapest flight listed is $1,427 round-trip, with tax, on United Airlines, which is $111 more. That may seem like a drop in the bucket when you're spending $1,316 on a plane ticket, but hey, every little bit helps. And besides, wouldn't you prefer to fly on Qantas, the national carrier of your destination?
  • From New York to Melbourne, we found $1,467 round-trip, with tax, on Qantas, using August 11 through August 25 as our travel dates. The best we found on Orbitz on these same dates was a $1,556 round-trip flight, with tax, also on Qantas.
  • From New York to Brisbane, we found $1,469 round-trip, with tax, on Qantas, using May 5 through May 14 as our dates of travel. The same search on Orbitz shows the lowest fare as $1,441, also on Qantas.
  • From New York to Cairns, we found $1,584 round-trip, with tax, on Qantas, using May 4 through May 14 as our dates of travel. A quick search on ITAsoftware (www.itasoftware.com) lists $1,668 as the lowest fare, also on Qantas.

Virgin America Gets the Green Light

A while back you may recall that we asked you to have a look at the Let Virgin Fly website (www.letvafly.com), and sign the petition urging the DOT to grant permission for domestic travel within the states. Well it worked (lobbying probably had an effect, too). On March 20, the DOT tentatively approved Virgin's application. From here, the remainder of the process should be smooth sailing, or flying rather, and Virgin America (www.virginamerica.com) hopes to launch their first domestic service sometime in midsummer between New York's JFK and San Francisco International. From there, Virgin hopes to extend service to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. within the first nine months. This will spark more competition in the domestic market and, of course, will lower domestic fares. In fact, Virgin's main competitor as a stylish budget airline will be JetBlue. And though many American carriers filed complaints with the FAA to keep Virgin from entering the market at all, a spokesperson for JetBlue said she welcomed the competition. Great, we do too.

SAS Late-Night Flight to Scandinavia

SAS (tel. 800/221 2350; www.flysas.com) is having a sale on summer travel to Scandinavia. All you have to do is take a late evening flight from Newark (around 11pm). Hey, there's never much to do on an eastbound transatlantic flight aside from sleeping, and we never cared much for sitting around in baggage claim at 6:30am, so it sounds like a good deal so far. Departures must take place between May 21 through May 31, and purchases must be made at least 7 days prior to departure. And remember, this deal is only good on the late evening SK902 and SK901 transatlantic flights from Newark. We poked around this deal and found the following:

  • Newark to Stockholm for May 22 through May 31 is $658 round-trip, including tax, on SAS. That's pretty incredible for a non-stop in late May, and far better than the next lowest fare of $1,037 we found for a non-stop on Orbitz, with Continental.
  • Newark to Helsinki for May 21 through May 31 is $877 round-trip, including tax, on SAS. On Orbitz, the next best one-stop fare we found for these dates was $960 round-trip on British Airways.
  • Newark to Copenhagen for May 22 through May 29 is $658 round-trip, including tax, on SAS. Our search on Orbitz turned up Continental's next lowest non-stop for $1,037 round-trip.
  • Newark to Oslo for May 22 through May 31 is $678 round-trip, including tax, on SAS. We searched these dates on Orbitz and found the next lowest fare on British Airways for $902 round-trip.

Fares to Europe will skyrocket after late May, especially those to Scandinavia. If you've even so much as considered paying a visit to these cities this coming summer, we suggest hopping on this sale before they run out of seats.

New Service from Detroit to Düsseldorf & Brussels

Northwest Airlines (tel. 800/225-2525; www.nwa.com) has launched new non-stop service between Detroit and Düsseldorf, set to begin June 5, and Brussels, set to begin June 15. If you're an NWA WorldPerks member, you can earn up to 15,000 miles if you travel either of these routes before October 31. If you're not a member, you have until July 31 to join. Just register for the Detroit Bonus Mile promotion on this page: www.nwa.com/offers/dtwtatl/. How do fares for this new service stand up among other carriers along this route?

  • For Detroit to Brussels, we found a fare of $908 round-trip, with tax, traveling June 15 through June 25 on Northwest. On Orbitz, the lowest non-stop is $1,274, also on Northwest. That's a pretty decent fare for peak summer non-stop travel.
  • Traveling from Detroit to Düsseldorf on June 5 through June 15, we found $1,338 round-trip on Northwest. A search on Orbitz lists Northwest as not only the best deal for non-stop on this route, but the only non-stop. The next best fare is $1,157 round-trip, with tax, on British Airways, but that includes a layover in London.

--additional reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

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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