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AirTran's New Service to Key West

As of December 17, AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com) will begin service to Key West. Nonstop flights operate between Orlando and Key West on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with direct same plane service from Atlanta as well. AirTran will be the only major budget carrier to serve Key West, with one-way fares from Orlando starting at $119, before taxes. And for passengers who aren't so keen on flying on itty bitty commuter planes and prop jets, AirTran will fly roomy Boeing 737-700s.

Southeast Asia Sale from Honolulu

Fly from Honolulu to Southeast Asia this fall, as part of the latest sale from China Airlines (tel. 800/227-5118; www.china-airlines.com). Fares are valid for outbound travel on Thursdays and Sundays from through September 27, as well as October 1 through 25, and October 29 through November 29. You'll find the lowest fares available in the late October/November segment of this sale.

Fares include:

Tickets must be purchased by September 27 for September departures, and by September 30 for all other departures.

Frontier & Hawaiian Up Their Baggage Fees

OK, so we have some good news and some bad news. The good first? Frontier (tel. 800/432-1359; www.frontierairlines.com) is reducing their fee for ticket changes to $100 for Economy passengers, down from $150. The new rule covers all tickets issued September 8 and onward.

And now, the bad news, Frontier is upping fees for checked bags. First checked bags are now $20, while second checked bags are $30. That's only a $5 increase, but still.

Also getting in on the bag fee action, Hawaiian Airlines (tel. 800/367-5320; www.hawaiianair.com) will now charge a $10 fee for the first checked bag on interisland flights. The new rule begins September 14.

Virgin America's Fares to Fly By

Virgin America's (tel. 877/359.8474; www.virginamerica.com) newest batch of sale fares (most of which are being matched by other airlines) are good for travel September 12 through November 18, as well as December 2 through December 16, and January 6 through February 10. Fares must be booked by September 22, and include:

Europe Sale from United

United's (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com) European Getaway Sale is valid for travel October 26 through March 26, Mondays through Wednesdays. A Saturday night stay is required, and a maximum of 30 days allowed.

Fares must be purchased by September 18 and include:

Frontier Sale Through Winter

The current sale from Frontier (tel. 800/432-1359; www.frontierairlines.com) is good for travel through March 10, 2010, on Monday through Thursdays, as well as Saturdays. Fares require a 10-day advance purchase and must be booked by September 15.

Blackout dates are November 24, 25, and 28-30, and December 18-19, 22-24, 27-29, 31, January 1-3, February 11-12, and 15.

Fares include:

More Airline Capacity Cuts on the Way

Feeling the squeeze on board your flights lately? You're not imagining things. According to Bloomberg.com, citing data from OAG Aviation Solutions, the six largest US airlines will shrink seat capacity by 6.8 percent "by year's end from 2008 levels...capping the industry's deepest retrenchment since World War II." But airline experts believe that even larger reductions are called for. What's that spell for you, gentle traveler? More on this over on the Airfarewatchdog.com blog.

Fares to Europe Too High for Fall?

Have you noticed? Fares to Europe are higher now than they were last spring. So when will we start to see those great shoulder season Europe sales? Check out our recent Q&A.

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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