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American Airlines: Fall Sale to Paris

American Airlines

(tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) is having a fall sale to Paris, good for travel between September 4 and December 17. Sure, these fares aren't exactly typical of what we're used to seeing around this time of year but, depending on your departure city, there are some reasonable fares to be had. Fares must be booked by September 10. Round-trip fares include:

It's likely that fares could drop for travel in late fall, but for earlier in the season, these fares are pretty good. We've also seen lower fall deals to Paris on Air India, Iberia, and Northwest from select departure cities, so be sure to check the Paris fares page for our complete list.

Dubai: The Hub of Everything

Unless you've been wandering the desert for the past few years, you have no doubt heard one thing or another about Dubai. The rulers of this stamp-sized sandbox not much bigger than Rhode Island have certainly made no secret of their quest for world domination, or at least worldwide recognition, and aim to fix this insignificant pinpoint on the Arabian Peninsula firmly on the map of human consciousness by any means available.

Unlike their rich neighbors, flush with oil and petrodollars, Dubai has precious few natural resources to fuel their outsize global ambitions, so they have to rely on time-honored tools and tricks of the tourist trade as ancient as the Pyramids: grand architecture and awe-inspiring engineering, sheer ingenuity and an almost unseemly dose of very modern marketing moxie.

In the mold and spirit of boomtowns like Las Vegas and Orlando, also created out of less than nothing, or less frivolously, the great trading ports of Singapore and Hong Kong, they are banking on the age-old premise that if they build it bigger, taller, longer, shinier and, perhaps, better, we -- that is, you and everyone you know along with the rest of besotted mankind -- will come, and bring plenty of cargo and hard currency.

A promise of eternal sunshine, unfettered fun and shameless conspicuous consumption is expertly designed to get us to buy into all the hype, hubris and huckster hocus-pocus of the place long enough to spend some serious money before we just might realize that, in the end, there really is no there there. Of course, that's all a matter of personal taste and maybe culture and history and beautiful scenery really is overrated, especially when the golfing is this good.

Certainly, getting you and your shiny suite of Samsonite there is easier than ever. In the past year two daily nonstop routes have opened, with Delta flying out of Atlanta and Emirates serving Houston in addition to their existing New York route, now serviced twice daily, on some days by the Airbus A380 mumbo jumbo jet. Big whoop, but wait, there's more...

Over the next four months, no fewer than three new nonstop routes will be launched when United takes to the air from Washington, D.C. and Emirates adds Los Angeles and San Francisco to their network, inaugurating two of the longest nonstop routes in scheduled service, although Singapore Airlines still holds the record with their New York to Singapore by-way-of-the-moon flights.

It's worth noting that so far only United is celebrating the launch of new service with an official sale, offering fares that are, in many cases, not the best around. And despite all this talk of nonstop flying, you can get there for considerably less if you don't mind changing planes, and possibly socks, on the way. One of the best deals we've found is just $900 from Chicago, perhaps as a consolation for being the only major international airport not blessed with a nonstop route to Neon Nirvana.

Finally, it should come as no surprise to anyone that in order to accommodate the massing hordes and all their luggage, Dubai is building the world's biggest airport with a handling capacity -- and a duty-free shopping mall -- expected to be twice that of any airport currently operating anywhere in the Solar System. This will serve not merely as the Gateway to Arabia but as the future crossroads for all things going East, West, North, and South. And if it doesn't quite pan out as planned, they can always lay claim to the biggest elephant in the world -- a really, really big white one -- and turn it into a space and aviation theme park.

Visit the Airfarewatchdog Dubai page for a round up of current fares from across the country.

Zoom Airlines Tosses in the Towel

Well folks, we lost another one. Canadian- and UK-based Zoom Airlines has ceased operations late last week, after having filed for insolvency. Said Zoom founders Hugh and John Boyle, "The price of oil resulted in our fuel bill jumping by nearly $50 million in one year and we could not recover that from passengers who had already booked their flights."

Seems like only yesterday we were waiting for Zoom's final go ahead from the DOT to set up service between JFK and London Gatwick. Sigh.

Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are offering discounted fares to stranded Zoom passengers, and Flyzoom.com has listed (in addition to an apology) other carriers which service Zoom's routes, such as Air Transat, Air Canada, Air France, Fly Globespan, Canadian Affair, British Airways, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, and American Airlines.

Aer Lingus Ireland Sale

Fly to Shannon or Dublin, Ireland this fall with this sale from Aer Lingus (tel. 800/223-6537; www.aerlingus.com). This sale is good for departures from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and sale dates vary according to your city of departure. All fares must be booked by September 9, and include:

Icelandair Fares to Reykjavik

Icelandair (tel. 800/223-5500; www.icelandair.com) is having a fall sale and although their fares to Europe are easy to beat, it's their fares to Reykjavik that come out on top. Sale periods vary according to departure city (Boston from 9/11-10/31, New York from 9/11-10/30, and Minneapolis from 9/2-10/22), and all fares must be booked by September 12.

American Airlines to Service 3 new Brazilian Destinations

Starting November 4, American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) will begin service to three new cities in Brazil: Belo Horizonte, Salvador, and Recife. All three destinations are currently available at special introductory fares. Restrictions vary according to city, but all fares must be booked by December 2. Outbound travel to Belo Horizonte is valid November 4, through May 28, 2009; all travel must be complete by May 31, 2009. Outbound travel to Recife and Salvador is valid November 2, through May 28, 2009; all travel must be complete by May 31, 2009. Sale fares are valid to Belo Horizonte Tuesday and Thursday, and to Recife and Salvador Monday through Thursday; other days are subject to higher fares.

Save Some Cash with JetBlue AmEx Offer

It might not be much, but it'll cover the cost of a blanket, at least! JetBlue (tel. 800/538-2583; www.jetblue.com) and American Express are offering $15 off round-trip flights when you book through this link and pay with your AmEx card. This offer is valid for flights through December 17, and can be booked any time through that date.

Baggage Fee Refund for Lost Bags?

Think your last flight failed to measure up? Read this trip report from Kay in Marquette:

My daughter was charged an additional $50 for 2 lbs over. We paid it and then when we arrived in Green Bay we had no luggage. We asked for a $50 refund since the luggage didn't arrive when we did we should be compensated. They said no and they would mail us our luggage when and if they would arrive. We waited 4½ hours for the next flight to come in and retrieve our luggage as we still had a 3 hour drive to get home and we needed our belongings.

Have you had similar baggage fee woes? Let us know! Sound off here in the Airfarewatchdog comments section.

Additional Reporting by Tracy W. 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.