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Amazing Sale to Osaka and Nagoya

United Airlines (tel. 800/538-2929; www.united.com) has been offering an amazing sale to Osaka and Nagoya, Japan for a while now, and it's not too late to get in on it since availability is still pretty good.

Sample round-trip fares to Osaka (all fares without taxes, which add about $100):

  • Atlanta $448 (vs. next lowest at $722 on Air Canada)
  • Baltimore $448 (next lowest $692 on Air Canada)
  • Chicago $398 (vs. $578 on American)
  • Washington, D.C.$398 (vs. $692 on Air Canada)

Sample round-trip fares to Nagoya from:

  • Austin $462 (vs. $761 on Delta)
  • Burbank $480 (vs. $631 on Delta)
  • Las Vegas $464 (vs. $490 on Japan Airlines)

On some routes, United has even lower fares posted on Travelocity, or there may be lower fares on other airlines on certain routes. For example, Phoenix/Nagoya is $630 listed at round-trip on United's site versus $514 round-trip on United through Travelocity; San Diego/Nagoya is $666 round-trip in the sale vesrus $514 round-trip on United through Travelocity; and San Francisco/Nagoya is $656 round-trip in the sale versus. $400 round-trip on ANA through Travelocity. When searching on United's site, look for the apple icon, which identifies the "Extreme winter deals to Japan." Travel to Osaka on Monday, Thursday and Saturday with returns on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. Travel to Nagoya Monday through Thursday. A 7-day advance purchase is required with a minimum stay of 6 nights and maximum stay of 30 days. Last day for outbound travel is March 31, 2006. Tickets must be purchased by January 24, 2006.

Three-Day Sale to Europe

Air France (tel. 800/237-2747; www.airfrance.us) is having a 3-day sale to Europe from Boston, Chicago, Miami and New York, with prices starting at $320 round-trip before taxes. From the few searches that we made, we'd have to say that this is a pretty good sale. Depending on the route, you'll save some dough, although you'll save more on certain routes and dates than on others.

Round-trip examples:

  • Boston to Barcelona departing on February 4, 2006 and returning on February 11, 2006, the total fare with taxes and fees is $495 , while the lowest fare found on Travelocity et al is $562 on KLM.
  • Chicago to Frankfurt on February 25, 2006, and returning on March 4, 2006, the total fare is $544 , compared to a next lowest fare of $551 on Lufthansa.
  • New York JFK to Paris departing on March 11, 2006, and returning on March 17, 2006, the total fare during the sale is $405 vs. $409.30 on Delta (which requires a plane change in Amsterdam, as opposed to Air France's non-stop service).

Tickets must be purchased seven days in advance with a Saturday night minimum and a 1-month maximum stay. Buy by January 19, 2006 for travel good through March 31.

A So-So Sale to Buenos Aires, but with no Advance Purchase

Continental Airlines (tel. 800/231-0856; www.continental.com) is having a not-so-great-not-too-bad sale to Buenos Aires from multiple cities in the US and as an added bonus, there's no advance purchase. Technically, United and Delta are matching in many markets, and whereas Continental requires a Saturday night stay Delta imposes a three-night minimum and United just two nights, so the latter two airlines may appeal more to business travelers. But in our research, we found that United and Delta have fewer seats at the sale price, and Continental's last date of travel is June 15 vs. March 31 on the others, so CO may be your best bet after all.

A few round-trip examples taken at random:

  • Houston/Buenos Aires departing February 16 and returning on 23 is $1,016, whereas Travelocity has a $971 on Compania Panamena on flights operated by Continental.
  • On the same route, departing on March 29 and returning on April 5, Continental offers $841, while United has $810.
  • Same dates but departing from San Francisco, Continental has an $850.50 fare, and United has the route for $843.50.
  • Departing from Cleveland on April 25, and returning on May 2, the Continental sale fare is $790.50, with a next lowest on Delta for $904.50.
  • Same dates from Houston, Continental's fare is $841 vs. next a lowest fare at $910 on United.
  • Same dates from San Francisco, the Continental wants $850.50, while the next lowest is $943.50 on Delta.

So it appears that this sale is the real deal if you're traveling from late April onwards. And if you're departing from Houston, you'll receive 5,000 bonus miles when booking on Continental.com. No advance purchase required. Minimum stay is 3 nights or includes a Saturday night, with a 3-month maximum stay. Last day for outbound flights is May 21, 2006, and return travel must be completed by June 15, 2006. Tickets must be purchased by January 31, 2006.

Not so Great Sale to Jamaica

Air Jamaica (tel. 800/ 523-5585; www.airjamaica.com) is having a sale to Kingston and Montego Bay from select US cities, but you can find lower fares through sites like Travelocity. For example, the sale has Miami to Kingston and Montego Bay for $158 round-trip, but Delta is offering those routes for $98 round-trip and $108 round-trip, respectively. Same goes for Ft Lauderdale: the sale is $158 round-trip to both destinations, whereas we're list Delta and Spirit $108 round-trips (book by Jan. 19) via Delta and Spirit on the Airfwarewatchdog Ft. Lauderdale page. Only two routes in the sale are worth taking a look at: Chicago to Kingston is $238 round-trip, while the lowest offered by major airlines is $268 round-trip; and Newark to Kingston is $238 round-trip, whereas it's $380 round-trip on American. However, the fares aren't that easy to find either through the Air Jamaica sale or on Travelocity. In general, we'll take a pass on this sale, which requires a 2-day minimum and 30-day maximum stay. Travel through February 9, 006.

Sale from Atlanta or NYC to Mexico and the Caribbean

Delta Air Lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) is having a decent sale from both Atlanta and New York JFK to select destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, with slightly lower fares than you might find elsewhere. As with Continental's Buenos Aires sale, the real draw here may be no advance purchase.

For example (all fares round-trip):

  • Atlanta to Antigua $527 (Delta also has a $518 fare, but it's available only for travel in May and June, whereas this sale covers travel from now through June) vs. next lowest $564 on US Airways).
  • Atlanta/Barbados $378 ($388 on American).
  • Atlanta/St. Maarten $527 ($534 on US Airways).
  • Atlanta/Santo Domingo $208 ($218 on American).
  • New York JFK/Acapulco $420 ($380 on American, Continental, Delta and Mexicana).
  • New York/Aruba $290 ($350 on American).
  • New York/Cabo San Lucas $364 (matched by American, Continental and Mexicana).
  • New York/Puerto Vallarta $420 ($380 on American, Continental, Delta and Mexicana).
  • New York/Punta Cana $198 (matched by American and Continental).

No advance purchase required, except for Antigua, where there's a 14-day advance purchase. A 2-night minimum stay, except to Antigua which is 3 nights, is also required. Blackouts apply, and vary depending on destination. Tickets must be purchased by January 30, 2006. Other restrictions apply, so check the site for complete details.

Alaska's Winter Sale

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) is having a sale for travel through June 9, 2006. As with most system-wide sale, the fares are hit or miss, and it seems that some airlines are undercutting this sale.

Sample fares:

  • Seattle to/from Oakland $79 one-way (round-trip purchase not required); the other major airlines are matching the one-way fare, but if you purchase a round-trip fare, United is offering the fare for $138 round-trip.
  • Portland, OR to/from either Los Angeles or Las Vegas is $99 one-way, matched by other major airlines.
  • Washington, D.C. to/from Los Angeles $119 one-way, but Alaska has a lower fare of $89.30 one-way (and that's with taxes and fees included).

Generally, we'd say this is a legit sale, and actually if you book through Alaskaair.com, you might get lucky and get an even lower fare. Travel Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and complete by June 9, 2006. Blackouts on February 16 to 21, March 11 to 13, 18 to 20, 25 to 27, April 1 to 3, 8 to 10 and 15 to 17, 2006. Tickets must be purchased by February 2, 2006, 11:59PM PST.

Spirit Sale for January Travel

Spirit Airlines (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) is having a Syber Special for travel in January with fares starting at $66 round-trip on very select dates. For example:

  • Dallas/Ft Worth to/from Ft Lauderdale departing on January 22, 2006 and returning on January 27, 2006, the tax-included sale fare is $98.40 round-trip; and, surprisingly, checking the same dates on Travelocity the lowest fare is also on Spirit, but at a much higher $310 round-trip.
  • Departing Orlando on January 21, 2006 for Montego Bay, and returning on January 28, the total sale fare is $183 round-trip, with the next lowest fare on Travelocity at $242 round-trip on American.

The fares are still relatively easy to find, and we advise you to jump on this sale if you have flexible travel dates. Tickets must be purchased by January 19, 2006, 11:59PM EST.

Malaysia Airlines to Taipei from $547 Round-Trip

Malaysia Airlines (tel. 800/552-9264; www.malaysiaairlinesusa.com), one of the world's best flyers, is offering Los Angeles to Taipei non-stop for $547 round-trip for travel through May 31. Tickets must be purchased by January 31. Taxes and fees add about $172. By the way, the same airline has continuing deals to Bangkok or Phuket for $699 round-trip plus tax and from Newark to Stockholm non-stop for $479 round-trip in economy or for an amazing $1600 round-trip in business class, all plus tax. These deals, too, must be purchased by January 31 and only on Malaysia's site, nowhere else.

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website, www.airfarewatchdog.com, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and other fare sales.

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