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Your Mama

Yep, Mother's Day is on the horizon. Have you mailed Mom that card yet? Take advantage of these Mother's Day sales and you can deliver her card in person this year. But as Mama always told you, you'd better shop around. Wait, or was that just Smokey Robinson? In any case, let's start with American Airlines' (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) Mother's Day Sale, valid for departures from May 9 through May 12, and for returns on May 14 and May 15 only.

  • Denver to Tulsa, advertised for $188 round-trip: We searched American's site for travel from May 9 through May 14 and easily found that $188 base fare. Add in those taxes and you're at $228 round-trip. On Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), United is listed as having these dates for $213 round-trip, including taxes.
  • Baltimore to San Francisco, advertised for $398 round-trip: Using May 11 through May 14, we found that $398 round-trip fare, which is $439 with taxes. Is Oakland any cheaper? Not at $521 round-trip. Plugging in these dates on Orbitz got us a fare of $388 round-trip, with taxes, on US Airways. Oakland isn't any cheaper on Orbitz either. Delta is $406 round-trip on these dates.
  • Chicago to Calgary, advertised for $407 round-trip: We checked American for travel from May 10 through ay 14 and found a base fare of $378 round-trip, or $446 round-trip, including taxes. Orbitz lists the lowest fare as $430 round-trip, including taxes, on United.
  • Los Angeles to Dallas, advertised for $258 round-trip: For travel May 9 through May 15, we had no trouble finding that advertised fare of $258, or $278 round-trip with taxes. Orbitz lists the lowest for this trip at $284 round-trip, also with American (which includes the Orbitz booking fee).
  • Columbus OH to Washington D.C., advertised for $238 round-trip: We found $238 round-trip for travel May 12 through May 14. That's $279 with taxes. Meanwhile, Orbitz has this same trip on United for $175 round-trip.

Also having a Mother's Day Sale is United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com). Is it any better than American? Like American's sale, this one is good for departures from May 9 through May 12, and for returns on May 14 and May 15 only. Let's check out those fares:

  • Orlando to San Francisco, advertised for $338 round-trip: We searched United for travel on May 10 through May 14 and found a base fare of $314, which came to about $367 round-trip with taxes. The same search on Orbitz gave us a fare of $374, which includes their booking fee. For those afraid that Mama's carnations may droop during the layover, United also offers this route nonstop for $465 round-trip, including taxes.
  • Los Angeles to Oakland, advertised for $142 round-trip: Using May 12 through May 14 as our travel dates, we were able to find a base fare of $132. Add in the taxes and you're looking at $162 round-trip. We searched these same dates on Orbitz and found the same trip at $168 on United. Again, the only difference is the booking fee that Orbitz has tacked on. The next lowest fare listed is $198 round-trip, on Delta.
  • Washington DC to Springfield IL, advertised for $218: for travel from May 11 through May 14, we found a base fare of $202, which ends up being $238 round-trip with taxes. Orbitz also lists United as the lowest fare, at $244 round-trip including taxes and their booking fee.
  • Denver to Albuquerque, advertised for $178: We found a base fare of $165, departing on May 9 and returning May 15. That comes to $197 round-trip with taxes. The same search on Orbitz turns up a fare of $203 round-trip with United, including taxes as well as the Orbitz booking fee. The next best fare? It's $388 on US Airways! That's quite difference.
  • Chicago to New York, advertised for $178: With May 11 through May 14 as our travel dates, we found a base fare of $146, which comes to $178 round-trip with taxes. Checking these dates back at Orbitz, we found a better fare of $159 round-trip, including taxes and booking fee, on ATA.

JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) is also having a "Mother's Day Sale" of their own, but some of these fares aren't exactly the lowest fares we've ever seen on their featured routes, not by a long shot.

For example, New York to Burbank is $169 each way, and Boston to Phoenix is $134 each way. And they're not the lowest available on some routes. For example, US Airways flies Boston to Phoenix nonstop, as JetBlue does, for $109 each way.

The fares between Newark and Florida are near their historic lows, however, at $59 each way.

The fine print: Fare requires a 14-day advance purchase. Travel must be completed by June 13, 2007. Travel must take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Saturday. Fares not available between May 23, 2007 and May 30, 2007. Fares do not include Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9 each way, September 11th Security Fees of up to $5 each way and a Federal Segment Tax of $3.40 per domestic segment. A segment is a takeoff and landing. Puerto Rico fares also do not include an excise tax of $15.10 each way. International fares also do not include government fees and taxes of up to $72.05 each way.

We're sure you'd willingly spend any amount to be with your mother on her special day, but wouldn't she be pleased to hear what a savvy consumer she raised? That said, American does pull through on a few routes, as does JetBlue with those Florida deals, but the overall savings appear to be with United.

American Airlines Introduces JFK to St. Kitts Nonstop

For those New Yorkers eager to jet off to St. Kitts, listen up. American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) has announced plans to fly non-stop from JFK to St. Kitts, twice weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), beginning November 18th. Flights will depart New York at 10:45am and arrive in St. Kitts at 3:55pm. Return flights will depart St Kitts at 5:05pm and arrive in New York at 8:30 pm. Says St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism official Ricky Skerritt, "The flights are ideally timed so as to permit the maximum amount of time on the island without requiring travelers to get to the airport too early or arrive home too late." Good. We love maximizing our island time

New York to Florida

And speaking of New York, American Airlines has some especially swell deals to Florida right now, including:

Also, US Airways has some equally great deals from Long Island, such as:

Austrian Airlines New Chicago Service

Austrian Airlines (tel. 800/843-0002; www.austrian.com) will begin service from Chicago to Vienna with six weekly non-stops, beginning May 29. Austrian isn't offering much in the way of sale fares for this new route, aside from a measly 5,000 bonus miles for Economy Class passengers, and 10,000 bonus miles for Business Class passengers, for travel between May 29 and June 30. Oh, and only to those who register as a Miles & More member at its website. Out of shear curiosity, we looked into the fares. Our initial search, for travel on June 3 through June 10, was a tad pricey, at $1,516 round-trip, including taxes. However, their flexible search calendar is pretty handy, and we spotted a cheaper fare of $1,258 round-trip, including taxes, for June 5 through June 12. That may sound alright for summer travel, but we're naturally suspicious, and took our travel dates over to Orbitz just to double check. The lowest fare they list is $1,270 round-trip, including taxes, with Austrian Airlines and partners. Obviously, you're better off booking the slightly lower fare directly from Austrian's site.

Air Tahiti Nui Sale from LAX & JFK

If watching Lost is as close as you ever get to taking that Pacific Island vacation, then Air Tahiti Nui's (tel. 877/824-4846; www.airtahitinui-usa.com) Spring in Tahiti sale might be just the thing.

Now until June 26, you can fly from LAX nonstop to Papeete, Tahiti for $758 round-trip, and from JFK for $858 round-trip. These fares are good for travel from LAX on April 24, May 8, May 17, May 31, June 9, and June 20. From JFK, this deal is good any flight between April 27 through May 22. We were able to find JFK to Papeete for $940 round-trip, including taxes, and $777 round-trip, including taxes, from LAX. But seats are limited and this deal expires today, so you may want to hurry.

Save $150 on British Airways this Summer

If you're a member of the British Airways (tel. 800/247-9297; www.britishairways.com) Executive Club frequent flyer program at any level, you might want to open your e-bullietin/statement this week. Many of us ignore these emails, but they're offering (or at least they did to me) $150 off any number of tickets, on any fare, in any cabin for summer travel. You must book by May 7 and fly through September 5. So open those emails and save.

Cathay Pacific Deals to Vancouver and Asia

Cathay Pacific (tel. 800/233-2742; www.cathaypacific.com) is one of those airlines that frequently sell airfares for less on its own site than it does anywhere else. Some cases in point:

They're having a sale from New York JFK to Vancouver on their daily nonstop for $396 RT including taxes. Buy that fare anywhere else and it will likely cost you $60 more.

They're also having a sale from Los Angeles to Bali for $796 RT including taxes (we found seats leaving September 15 and returning September 24). On every other airline, including Cathay, booked via Travelocity.com that route on those dates would set you back $1150 or so including tax.

In addition, during the month of May Cathay has the following routes on sale:

These are all good fares. Details on their U.S. home page.

--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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