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Travelocity Back to Offering International Flexible Search

Well, this definitely is news. A couple of years ago, the DOT told Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) not to show fare results for international fares in their "flexible date" searches, unless they included all taxes and fuel surcharges, or at least clearly stated that they were not included (and that they could add hundreds to the fares Travelocity showed).

Well lo and behold, Travelocity has re-enabled flexible international search. In our tests, not all international routes are active.

We found the DOT's edict well-intentioned but unfair, especially since there are so many airfare listing sites that show international fares before the charges, and especially since airlines are allowed to advertise international fares without the surcharges.

The big deal is that only Travelocity offered a full 330-day range in its searches for international fares (Orbitz, Cheaptickets, and so on only do 30 day periods at a time).

As with all Travelocity search results, the fare you see in initial results may not be available at all, or on just a few dates of travel, but it's still a useful place to start searching and we're glad to have it back, if even on just some routes.

Lufthansa & United Summer Sale

Ah, remember back to the olden days of last winter when one shiny Sacagawea coin would get you into the picture show, oil was just two pelts per barrel, and United (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com) and Lufthansa were ruling the international cheapie roost with fares as low as $320 or so, round-trip from the east coast and about $400-something round-trip from the west coast? Ok, so maybe we made up those first two, but the Lufthansa/United fares were certainly that low, and for a good while too.

And now they're back, sort of. Sure, they're not as dirt cheap as they were in the dead of winter, but for peak summer travel, hey, they're definitely better than what most other folks are offering.

Please note that the fares we list from this sale do not include taxes, as is usually our custom, so expect to shell out at least another $100.

For a complete look at fares and departure cities for this sale, visit our Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, and London pages.

AA New Service to Jamaica

As of June 1, American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) will begin their new non-stop service between Ft Lauderdale and Kingston, Jamaica. Book by June 15 and get in on the introductory sale, good for travel through December 18.

Atlanta to Japan, Central America, & the Caribbean

Live in or around Atlanta? Delta (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) has a couple of international sales worth looking into. First up, flights from the ATL to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean are on sale. These fares are mostly for travel through June, but travel periods vary according to destination, so check the fine print for details, including blackout dates.

Also from Atlanta, Delta has Tokyo, San Salvador, and Santo Domingo on sale for weekday travel through June 30 (weekends are slightly higher).

All fares must be booked by June 3, and include:

China Airlines Web Fares

China Airlines (tel. 800/227-5118; www.china-airlines.com) has some excellent web-only specials out of Los Angeles for July travel to Asia. These web fares are only valid for weekday travel, and must be purchased by June 6. Fares include:

And for travel in August, you'll find Air China has some great late-summer fares to Bangkok as well, for example:

Korean Air: New Service Between Los Angeles & Sao Paulo

And more good news for folks in the Los Angeles area, Korean Air (tel. 800/438-5000; www.koreanair.com) has a great Last Minute Getaway fare on their new service between LAX and Sao Paulo, Brazil for $849 round-trip, not including taxes. This fare is good for outbound departures between June 2 and June 26. And if your busy schedule just doesn't mesh with those dates, they have an $889 round-trip fare good for outbound departures from June 27 through July 16. All fares must be booked by May 31, so get a move on and you can just make it.

These Days, Don't Go by the Fare Alone

Do you shop airfares by the price of your ticket alone? In this new age of ever-increasingly airline fees, depending on your circumstances, that may not be the smartest strategy, Airfarewatchdog.com has found. Sending the kids to visit their mom for the summer? Traveling with a lot of luggage, or a pet? Are your travel plans subject to change or cancellation? Flying on a frequent flyer ticket? If so, it pays to consider not just the airfare, but also any potential fees, and to add them to get a final cost.

So you've found a great fare on Delta from New York to Atlanta for $138 roundtrip plus tax. Competitor Airtran is charging $155 for your preferred dates of travel. So which should you buy? If you're just carrying cabin luggage, then fine, go with Delta. But if you're checking two bags and one of them weighs between 51 and 70 pounds, you'd better think twice. Delta will charge you an extra $210 round-trip; Airtran will charge as little as $78 round-trip.

Or let's say you wanted to fly your ten year old son unaccompanied from Providence to Los Angeles to spend some time with Grandma. But there's a chance you may have to reschedule the trip because your mom hasn't been in the best of health this month. United has a great deal for $213 round-trip, but Southwest, often the low fare leader, is charging $350. Easy, right? Not so fast. United will charge you $200 round-trip for the unaccompanied minor fee. And if you change your kid's travel dates, that'll be another $150, please. The fees on Southwest in such a scenario? Zip.

Airfarewatchdog.com has compiled two comparison charts that will help you determine the true cost of your next flight. The first chart shows fees on various US airlines for ticket changes, booking fares by phone or in person, unaccompanied minors, flying pets in the cabin, and other fees; the second chart compares checked bag fees.

Additional Reporting by Tracy W. Stewart, Bo Borre, and Jacob Kasnett

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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