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Singapore Airlines' Best of the Web

Singapore Airlines (tel. 800/742-3333; www.singaporeair.com) has quite a few great fares included in their current "Best of the Web" promotions for those traveling from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Expiration and travel dates vary according to destination. Here are a few sample fares:

The great thing about their Best of the Web fares is that they actually advertise them round-trip and including tax, so what you see is what you pay. That's a refreshing change from most sale promotions, which are typically advertised as one-ways before tacking on all those hefty taxes. In some cases, the fares we found were even a bit less than the advertised fares. For instance, San Francisco to Penang is advertised as $987 round-trip for purchase by May 23, but we found it for $926 for purchase by March 30. One caveat though: most of these fares do not qualify for frequent flyer miles. Hey, you can't have low fares, Singapore service, and miles, now can you?

New Nonstop Service from Atlanta to Dubai

Delta Airlines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) is having a sale on summer travel to Dubai, good for departures between June 2 and July 31, if booked by March 15. Advertised one-way fares range from $639 to $779 before taxes. Travel must be completed by August 30.

  • Atlanta to Dubai is $1,395 round-trip, including tax, on Delta Airlines. This checks out to be the lowest fare available for this route, using June 20 through June 27 as travel dates. Better still, it's nonstop. Curiously, the next best deal is $1,622 on Delta and comes with a whopping five hour layover in Paris.
  • Washington D.C. to Dubai is $1,357 round-trip, including tax, on Delta Airlines. Using June 20 through June 27 as our travel dates on Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), we were able to find this route for $1,310 on British Airways, partnered with Virgin.
  • Dallas to Dubai is $1,570 round-trip, including tax on Delta Airlines. This fare includes an 11 hour layover in Atlanta. By using June 5 through June 12 as our travel dates, we were able to find a lower fare of $1,357 on American partnered with Qatar Airlines, on Orbitz. This flight does include two layovers but they're brief ones.
  • San Francisco to Dubai is $1,743 round-trip, including tax on Delta Airlines. This fare includes a seven hour layover in Atlanta. Again, using June 5 through June 12 on Orbitz, we found $1,397 on United Airlines partnered with Qatar Airlines. Sure, this fare also comes with two layovers but your overall travel time is 20 hours versus 25 hours on Delta.

Air France to Launch New Same Day Service from JFK

On May 1, Air France (tel. 800/237-2747; www.airfrance.us) will launch their new daily service, departing from New York's JFK at 7:50am and arriving in Paris' Charles de Gaulle at 9:00pm. Returning flights depart Paris at 9:00pm and arrive in New York at 11:15pm. Air France is offering this new route at an introductory fare of $199 one-way, based round-trip purchase, for travel between May 1 and May 17, if booked before March 11.

This comes out to $495 round-trip, with taxes, which we found using May 3 through May 11 as our travel dates. This is a pretty spectacular fare for a nonstop to Paris in May. Other searches, using the same dates, on ITA Software (www.itasoftware.com) show the lowest nonstop fare of $587 round-trip on both American Airlines and Delta.

For travel between May 18 and June 15, this route is being offered for $299 one-way, based on round-trip purchase. On airfrance.com, we were able to find this sale fare for $695 round-trip with tax, using June 6 through June 13 as our travel dates. A search on ITA using the same dates shows the lowest fare for this route as $798 on Iceland Air. As for nonstop flights, the best price is -- get this -- $1,162 on Air France. That's a $467 difference for the same route on the very same airline.

Free Companion Tickets on JetBlue

Use your American Express JetBlue Card, pay a few bucks in taxes, and two people fly for the price of one. Travel is valid on the entire JetBlue network. This deal is good for travel between March 5 through March 31, and April 24 through May 23. Don't already have a JetBlue card? Applying is easy. Click here for the JetBlue business card, which offers 5% off all JetBlue travel charged to the card, plus a $50 statement credit, or click here for the consumer card. Both cards offer 25 TrueBlue points with first purchase, which gets you 1/4 of the way to a free flight. You must sign up for or already be a member of the TrueBlue program before applying for these cards.

Note: this offer was only sent to some JetBlue American Express card holders, however it's valid for anyone who has a Card.

Spirit Airlines to Charge for Luggage

Looks like the execs at Spirit (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) have been talking to the folks at Europe's Ryanair.

Get this:

    "For customers who purchased tickets prior to December 15, 2006, for each ticketed passenger, Spirit Airlines will transport two (2) bags as checked luggage free of charge. For customers who purchased tickets between December 15, 2006 and March 6, 2007, Spirit Airlines will transport one (1) piece of luggage at no charge per fare-paying customer. For customers who purchased tickets on or after March 6, 2007 for travel on or after June 20, 2007, charges will apply to each item transported as checked luggage.

    Spirit Airlines can only guarantee the transportation of one (1) item as checked luggage per fare paying customer. Additional bags can be purchased on a first-served basis; but Spirit cannot guarantee that there will be space for extra bags, and will not be held responsible for any additional items brought to the airport by the customer. Please note that space is extremely limited on certain flights."

Be sure to read their entire policy page (www.spiritair.com/welcome.aspx?pg=policies). You'll notice that they're also now charging $1 for coffee, tea, Coke, and other drinks. Even spring water. And they're no longer serving free booze in the "first class" section. The real question is will this embolden other airlines to follow suit.

Getting Your Money Back When a Fare Goes Down

Most consumers don't realize this, but when they buy a nonrefundable airline ticket for $400 and discover before departure that the fare has gone down to, say, $200, some airlines will refund the difference in full, in the form of a voucher good for future travel, upon request. But others will deduct a fee from the refund, ranging from $25 to $100 for a domestic ticket.

  • Once you buy a ticket, it's a good idea to check to see if the price has gone down before you take off.
  • Airlines can adjust fares up to three times a day during the week, and once a day on weekends.
  • Airfare alerts such as those provided by airfarewatchdog.com are a good way to keep on top of changing airfares. These alerts are provided by email and by RSS feeds.
  • If you want to get a full refund, in the form of a voucher, book with Southwest, United, USAir, or JetBlue.
  • Southwest refunds in cash, the others in vouchers.
  • Northwest, however, charges a $25 administrative fee on domestic fares; Continental, American, Delta charge $50-$100.
  • Even those airlines that charge the fee can sometimes be persuaded to waive it. Ask nicely!
  • Only caveat: you cannot change your dates or times of travel; must be exact same flights to get the refund.
  • International airlines, such as British Airways, often won't refund a dime, fee or no fee. So you're better off buying your international travel with an airline like United or US Air if possible.

--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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