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Cathay Pacific Launches New Afternoon Flight to Hong Kong

To celebrate their new afternoon nonstops between San Francisco and Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Airways (tel. 800/233-2742; www.cathaypacific.com) is offering the best fares on the route for travel between October 18 and November 30, 2007 and for sale until September 30. You'll pay about $808 RT including taxes. But this fare is only available on Cathay's site and nowhere else. For example, leaving October 18 and returning a week later, we were easily able to find the seats at the advertised fare. But on Orbitz.com, same flights and dates, the lowest connecting fare we found was $893 RT on China, and Cathay's nonstop was about $1,000 RT with taxes.

Morocco-a-gogo

Seems like we couldn't get out of bed this week without tripping over a good fare to Morocco. While we can't explain the sudden scramble to put Moroccan cities on sale, we know not to look a gift camel in the mouth. These are for late fall/winter travel, except where noted. Here's the round-up:

And speaking of dramatic free-falls in price, we'll lump this little gem of a fare along with these too.

Again, these are all round-trip and include taxes. We imagine that these fares won't stick around for long, so we'd suggest jumping on these as quickly as you can.

Beyond Italy

Alitalia (tel. 800/223-5730; www.alitalia.com) wants to remind you that they serve plenty of other fabulous destinations outside of Italy. That's the idea behind their latest fall/winter sale, which features cities like Budapest, Kiev, Istanbul, and so on. How does it hold up against the other guys? Here's a round-up of fares, all of which are round-trip and include tax:

  • Boston to Budapest, advertised as $534: Using the flexible search option, finding the advertised fare was a snap, and we chose November 12 through November 20 as our travel dates. We plugged these same dates in our Orbitz.com search and found a lower fare of $481 round-trip on United/Lufthansa.
  • Miami to Budapest, advertised as $631: Again, using the flexible search option, we found a fare of $630 for November 8 through November 13.
  • Boston to Kiev, advertised as $614: Again, this fare was easy to find (actually, we found $613, a whole dollar less than the advertised fare) and we chose November 15 through November 21 as our travel dates. Orbitz.com also lists Alitalia as having the lowest fare, but at a slightly higher $624. Why the $11 difference? That's the Orbitz booking fee, which you can avoid by booking through Alitalia.
  • New York to Barcelona, advertised as $501: We found several dates available within range of the advertised fare, and chose October 30 through November 5, for $500. A follow-up search for the same trip on Orbitz.com lists Alitalia has having the lowest fare.
  • Chicago to Frankfurt, advertised as $646: We found this fare available for travel November 8 through November 14. Our follow-up search on Orbitz lists Lufthansa/United as the best deal for these dates, at $541 round-trip, and (better still) nonstop.

This sale includes some great deals to cities that rarely go on sale, and definitely worth checking out. As always, shopping around is encouraged, but should you decide to go with the Alitalia sale, you must book by September 28. Sale is valid for travel from October 29 through December 13, or January 8 through March 13.

A Sale by Any Other Name

It's not even officially fall yet, and already the airlines have exhausted all their clever names for fall sales. Just look at the latest offerings from ATA (tel. 800/435-9282; www.ata.com), the Fly Away Sale. Fly Away Sale? Luckily, the fares are just as basic as the title, and sweeter still, include a quite a few deals to Hawaii:

Be Thankful for BusinessFirst

Continental (tel. 800-525-0280; www.continental.com) has some great fares in their comfy BusinessFirst cabin to Europe for holiday travel (guess this is when the suits don't fly, so they have to fill those seats). Most of the deals are from Newark, with a few from Houston as well.

Travel outbound November 18 through 24 and return November 22 through 24 or November 27 through 28. For an additional $100 each way, fares are available for:

Travel outbound December 17 2007 through January 4, 2008 and return Dec. 22, 2007 through January 9, 2008.

Considering that you'll pay a lot for mere economy travel during these peak periods, it may end up costing not much more to fly in comfort. Newark to London, for example, is $560 each way over Thanksgiving and $660 each way for travel over the winter holidays, plus tax. Maybe we're going blind researching all these fares, but we didn't see a last day to purchase listed on Continental's site.

Planes, Trains, and Air France Deals

Here's a somewhat unusual arrangement offered by Air France, which will fly you to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and then whisk you downtown Brussels in little over an hour by high-speed train to the Midi-Zuid railway station.

With its built-in airport transfer and check-in time, this itinerary compares favorably to a non-stop flight in total travel time. The savings are only about $35 plus the price of that Brussels airport transfer you won't need, but as a bonus you get to see France whiz by at the speed of a very fast locomotive.

Along with other fares we have posted to Brussels, this one is currently available for $475 from both Newark and New York-JFK for travel starting late October. You may be able to get it from other Air France gateways or find code-share connections from many other cities, but before you rush off to this storied land of beer and chocolate and fries do as your mother told you and finish your sprouts!

Big, Big Country Sale from AirTran

This is a pretty standard sale for AirTran (tel. 800/AIR-TRAN; www.airtran.com), but a sale nonetheless. Here are the rules:

  • Buy your tickets by September 18, 2007, 11:59 pm ET.
  • Travel through January 30, 2008, for most markets. Travel to/from Seattle through November 6, 2007. Travel to/from Portland through January 7, 2008. Travel between Portland and Orlando through January 30, 2008.
  • 10-day advance purchase required.
  • Lowest advertised fares are valid for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and additional sale fares are valid for travel on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Fares are not valid for travel on Sundays.
  • Blackout dates are: November 16, 17, 20, 21, 24 through 26, and December 20, 2007, through January 6, 2008. US Air charge of $100

An Earlier Flight, A Later Flight

Ever need to take a later or earlier flight on your same day of travel, but bugged by the change fees? One airline doesn't charge to change to another same-day flight. See who's charging what these days at Airfarewatchdog.

Additional Reporting by Tracy William Stewart and Bo Borre

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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