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Air New Zealand & the Fiji Stopover

As is usually the case, Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) has its best deals on its own website. (In fact, they now have a fare guarantee where they'll match any lower price you might find elsewhere, plus a $25 bonus).

Until May 31, they're offering some sweet deals to New Zealand with a free stopover. For example, we found Los Angeles to Fiji to Auckland for $951 including all taxes and surcharges for travel mid May to early June. ANZ's site is an absolute snap to use, clearly showing you exactly when the cheap seats are available for a given sale. Kudos to those clever Kiwis.

Some rules for you to mull over:

  • Departures between Sunday, May 6, 2007 and Friday, August 31, 2007.
  • All travel must be completed by Friday, August 15, 2008.
  • 4-Day advance purchase.
  • Minimum stay of 5 days.
  • Maximum stay of 350 days.
  • Children aged 2 thru 11 years pay 75% of adult fare.
  • Infants under 2 years of age pay 10% of adult fare and must share a seat with an adult.

Travel July 21-September 7 is higher, but still good value.

Airtran Systemwide 48-hour Sale

Airtran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com) is having a systemwide sale but you must book by Friday May 11 with a 10-day advance purchase and travel through Nov. 13. Fares range from $39 to $144 one-way and there's no round-trip purchase required. Airtran's higher priced routes are not always the cheapest even during a sale, but sometimes they're the best value if they fly the route nonstop. Here's a little taste:

The lowest advertised fares are valid for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and additional sale fares are available for travel on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Blackout dates are: May 24, 25 and 28; June 28, 29 and 30; July 1, 3, 7, 8 and 9; and September 3, 2007, for all markets.

Business class is also on sale. And here's a little known fact: you can upgrade from even the lowest Airtran fares on a standby basis for between $40 to $140 each way, or for the same prices in advance from full "Y" coach fares.

Denver Deals from Delta

Yesterday we found this amazing fare, and hope it's still around when you read this: an unadvertised fare sale on Delta (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) aimed at United. Here's the deal: you can fly between Denver and Washington (or reverse) or Denver and New York (or reverse) any Friday, Saturday or Sunday and return any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday now through early April 2008, for $120 RT plus tax, subject to prior sale and a few blackout dates. Denver/New York JFK is a nonstop flight, total with taxes about $140 RT. So, for example, you can leave on Sat. Sept. 8 and return Sat. Oct. 20 -- it doesn't have to be the same weekend. Delta was also offering the same deal from New York to St. Louis and St. Louis to Washington.

Take 5% off your American Airlines Fare

This is a really great deal. You've probably heard about the Entertainment coupon books. Through the end of May, you can buy one for $12.99 each. Inside, you'll find a coupon good for 5 % off any non-code-share American flight costing over $150 RT. Up to six people can be booked at the discount. So let's say you buy a $1,000 flight to Europe for 2 people: you save $100. Nothing to sneeze at, especially since you only paid $12.99 for the booklet. And, of course, there are lots of other discounts inside on everything from Big Macs to dry cleaning to movie tickets. Many of the other coupons are travel related, but this AA discount strikes us as the best deal. Check here for online orders and further details. The $12.99 offer ends, so they say, on May 31.

Scandinavian Airlines Web Deals

Scandinavian Airlines (tel. 800/221-2350; www.flysas.com) frequently sells seats on its own web site for less than you'll find them anywhere else. Right now they have several deals online.

One is discounts on their comfy "economy extra" class to Scandinavia. This service provides extra legroom and wider seats, business class check in and baggage allowance, fast track security, and a PC power outlet at all seats. How are the fares? Seattle to Helsinki for July travel, for example, you can find fares for $1,710 RT with tax. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that many airlines are charging that for plain old economy. In fact, SAS itself is charging $2,222 for plain old economy on some July dates, so clearly you're better off paying less for a better seat! It's very easy to pinpoint the days when fares are lowest on SAS's site.

In addition, SAS is offering business class discounts to Europe. Newark to Amsterdam, for example, is offered at $2,500 RT; Seattle to Copenhagen at about $2,800 RT.

Back in the back of the bus, you'll find good fares for travel through June 22 in SAS's economy class. For example, we found Newark to Oslo leaving June 8 and returning June 15 for $655 RT including taxes. We did find slightly lower fares ($621 RT) on those travel days on that route via United with a connection on SAS, but frankly we'd rather do SAS all the way, in part because they leave Newark at 11pm, which gives us the whole day in the city and means we might actually fall asleep on the plane during the outbound trip. Oh, and just in case you were wondering how much you'd pay were you to book SAS via Travelocity on those same flights/days: that would be, thank you very much, $1,310 RT. So you really do save booking on SAS directly.

Finally, there's a sale, of sorts, for peak summer travel to Scandinavia. We found that in contrast to the above-mentioned deals, you can find these fares on the major third-party booking engines, such as Orbitz.com (www.orbitz.com) and Sidestep.com (www.sidestep.com). Washington to Stockholm departing July 11 and returning July 18 is $980 RT including tax on SAS no matter where you buy it. Might not sound like a fabulous deal, but were you to travel on other days in July you could end up paying $1,400 RT or more.

Vancouver to Hong Kong

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines (tel. 888/983-0808; www.oasishongkong.com) has some great nonstop fares from Vancouver to Hong Kong via 747 service. Inaugural service begins June 28, 2007. Watch out, Cathay Pacific!

We're seeing fares of C$786 RT on this route, including taxes, which is about $660 RT in US dollars. This, needless to say, is a great fare, and seats are readily available for summer travel. Oasis has big expansion plans, hoping to have a fleet of 25 planes by 2010.

They're also offering business class fares for C$2,798 RT plus tax, and, on business class fares of $1,899 or more one way, they're offering a free ticket for each ticket purchase. This two for one offer ends May 31, and the free ticket can be used through October 27. All their fares are available for one-way purchase at half the round-trip fare.

Round-the-World Fares on British Airways

Calling all Phineas Foggs: Airlines are making it easier to book round-the-world tickets. British Airways (tel. 800/247-9297; www.britishairways.com), for instance, has an interesting program that allows you to visit 3, 4, 5, or 6 continents for less than you might imagine. You're restricted to 20 flight segments internationally and no more than 6 in North America. Fares vary depending on when you travel or buy, but as a general guideline you'll pay, BA says, as little as $3,900 to visit 3 continents in economy or as much as $13,000 to visit all six in first class (which strikes us as quite a bargain considering how much it costs to fly in first). Call 800-828-7797 for more information.

And you might also look into round-the-world travel specialist Airtreks (www.airtreks.com).

Getting Across the Pond for Less this Summer

Yes, fares to Europe this spring and summer are sky high. It's all those Europeans coming over here to buy stuff with their muscular Euros and pounds. There is a glimmer of hope however: flying from New York to Shannon, where fares are not $1,000 or $1,500 or more round-trip. Read about our strategy at Airfarewatchdog.com.

Midwest Airlines Sale

Midwest Airlines (tel. 800/452-2022; www.midwestairlines.com), they of the freshly baked-onboard cookies and 100% two-by-two seating on some routes, is having a sale for travel through May 24. What's significant about this sale is that it requires just a two-day advance purchase. These aren't the cheapest fares on all routes, mostly to/from Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Omaha, but they are the least restrictive. Smaller towns such as Appleton, Green Bay, and Grand Rapids are also included. Sale ends May 11. A few sample fares include:

Save Some for Souvenirs!

Don't blow such a hefty chunk of your vacation budget on those plane tickets. Remember, fares can change up to three times a day, so be sure to check Airfarewatchdog.com (www.airfarewatchdog.com) accordingly to ensure you get the best possible deal. Better yet, add us to your RSS feeds and receive the latest deals from your departure city as we update them. And we add more insight into finding low fares almost every day on airfarewatchblog.

--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 fare sales, including the most helpful and always updated Top 50 Airfares.

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