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Los Angeles to London Sale

Air New Zealand (tel. 800/ 262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) is having a great sale between Los Angeles and London Heathrow for $400 round-trip before taxes, or with taxes $509 round-trip (using January 27, 2006 as a departure date and February 1 return as sample dates) on nonstop flights. This is a great fare, but a variety of airlines are offering even lower fares. Using the above dates, American is offering the route for $490 round-trip (again, with all taxes and fees) on non-stop flights. Changing the dates up a bit, departing on February 8 and returning on the 15th, Air New Zealand's fare is still $509 round-trip, but the fare drops to $470 round-trip (with all the taxes and fees) on American, United Airlines and British Airways. However if Air New Zealand is your preferred carrier for some reason (that famously friendly Kiwi service?) then you'd be much better off booking on Air New Zealand's site for travel on those days, since Travelocity and other third party sites are selling LA to London for $621 round-trip on Air New Zealand.

Two Free Nights' Hotel in London with Round-Trip Purchase

British Airways (tel. 800/247-9297; www.ba.com) has brought back its "London for Free" promotion with two free nights' hotel accommodations in central London when purchasing round-trip airfares between the U.S. and any worldwide destination. Round-trip airfares start at $298 round-trip before taxes between New York's JFK or Newark airports and London's Heathrow. Travelers may choose to fly directly to London and take advantage of two free hotel nights or fly to any worldwide British Airways destination with a stopover in London to enjoy those two free hotel nights. Sample round-trip airfares (all before taxes, fuel surcharges and fees, which can add a small fortune to the final price) to other destinations from New York include:

  • Amsterdam for $368
  • Barcelona for $433
  • Cairo for $636
  • Rome for $427
  • Nairobi for $890

The two free hotel nights are available at a selection of three and four-star hotels. All the hotels are centrally located, and are within walking distance to attractions, shopping, restaurants and underground stations. The prices quoted above are based on double occupancy; single occupants are offered one free hotel night. Considering the cost of hotels in London these days, this is a pretty good deal. And it's also valid from all 19 British Airways gateways at an additional cost. A 7-day advance purchase required. Travel is valid Monday through Wednesday (a $30 one-way surcharge for travel Thursday through Sunday) with departures from January 31 through April 2, 2006. Minimum stay is Saturday night and maximum stay is 11 months. Available for purchase through February 2, 2006. The hotel rooms must be used by August 31, 2006.

Two-Day Sale for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia

AirTran Airways (tel. 800/247-8726; www.airtran.com) is having a 2-day sale from/to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago Midway and Philadelphia to pretty much every destination the airline covers. However, the sale isn't one of AirTran's best, because the other major airlines are offering slightly lower fares or matching to most of the city pairs, with the exception of fares to/from Atlanta and fares to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

Sample one-way fares include:

  • Atlanta to/from Ft Lauderdale: $59 vs. $129 on Delta
  • Atlanta to/from Freeport: $79 vs. $104 on Delta
  • Atlanta to/from Las Vegas: $119 vs. $139 on Delta
  • Boston to/from Denver: $129 vs. $79 on AirTran (albeit with a shorter travel period) or $99 on USAir (travel through May 23)
  • Boston to/from Freeport: $99 vs. $129 on Delta
  • Chicago to/from Freeport: $99 vs. $139 on Delta
  • Chicago to/from Tampa: $79 matched by the other major airlines
  • Philadelphia to/from Freeport: $99 vs. $139 on Delta
  • Philadelphia to/from New Orleans: $89 vs. $59 on American (travel daily)

Travel on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday through March 8, 2006. Blackouts on February 17 and 20, 2006; to Florida and Grand Bahama Island, blackouts on February 15-18 & 20; March 2-4; and from Florida and Grand Bahama Island on February 20-21& 25-27; and March 4-6, 2006. A 10-day advance purchase is required, and tickets must be purchased by January 25, 2006, 11:59 EST.

Sale from Hawaii and NYC to/from Various Cities

ATA (tel. 800/435-9282; www.ata.com) is having two city specific sales: to/from Honolulu or Maui and to/from New York LaGuardia. The fares to/from Hawaii are the better deals, since the fares are currently lower than the other fares being offered by the other airlines. However, the sale to/from New York doesn't appear to be very good (with the exception of Guadalajara). We'd say check into the sale to/from Honolulu or Maui and give the New York one a skip (unless you're going to Hawaii). Sample round-trip fares:

For Honolulu:

  • Washington, D.C.: $518 vs. $627.60 on Northwest

For Maui:

  • Chicago: $418 vs. $487.60 on USAir
  • Houston: $488 vs. $538.60 on USAir

For New York:

  • Chicago: $178 vs. $118 by major airlines (including ATA) with longer travel dates
  • Denver: $188 vs. $158 on American with more flexibility
  • Guadalajara, Mexico: $278 vs. $308 on American and Delta with longer travel dates
  • Oakland, CA: $188, matched by American and United

Restrictions for both sales: a 7-day advance purchase, for travel through March 31, 2006, except Maui to/from Houston and San Antonio, Honolulu to/from Lubbock, and New York to/from San Jose travel begins February 5, 2006. Blackouts on February 17, 18 and 20, 2006. Tickets must be purchased by January 30, 2006, Midnight EST.

Alaska's New "Low Fare Finder"

Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) now has a slightly more flexible fare search on their Site that allows you to search for lower fares. With the new search, you just have to check the "Lowest Fare ¿ 1 Day" and it'll give you the fare for your specific dates plus the fares for the day before and after your selected dates. While this is handy, it's not as flexible a search as the American Airlines or USAir flexible fare finders. American lets you enter a date range, and USAir gives you the lowest fare available for the city pairs, and lets you pick the dates based on what's available for the fare. And of course, not to beat a dead horse or anything, but we still prefer Travelocity's flexible fare search (click on the "Flexible Dates" button) since it's the only one that goes out 330 days into the future; the only one that does fares from the US to international destinations; and the only one that does fares between international destinations. Sure, it's sometimes inaccurate (listing fares on routes that airlines don't fly, for instance), but it's where we always start (and sometimes finish) our fare searches. Orbitz only permits domestic searches within a 30 day range; Expedia only does flexible searches between major cities; and CheapAir does domestic-only searches 330 days out.

Paris Sale from Five Major Cities

Air France (tel. 800/237-2747; www.airfrance.us) is having a pretty good sale from Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK and San Francisco to Paris with fares starting from $320 round-trip. This is the second good Air France sale in a row, following last week's 3-day sale to Europe, and seats at the advertised price are pretty easy to find, except in March, but available nonetheless. Furthermore, Air France's Site list the prices for three days before and after your date of choice, so you can see if you can get a lower fare by tweaking your travel dates a bit.

Here's a sample of round-trip fares from (with all the taxes and fees):

  • Chicago, depart February 8, return 15: $520 vs. a next lowest $521 American (both airlines offer non-stops)
  • Los Angeles, depart February 3, return 10: $579 nonstop vs. $599 on Continental with a plane change in Newark
  • Miami, depart March 13, return March 20: $549 vs. $559 on Continental with a plane change in Houston
  • New York JFK , depart February 8, return 15: $405 vs. $387.50 on Air Canada from Newark with a plane change in Toronto or same fare on Delta from JFK nonstop
  • San Francisco, depart March 13, return March 20: $528 nonstop vs. next lowest $559 on United with a plane change in London

Weekend surcharges apply. A 7-day advance purchase required with a Saturday minimum and 1 month maximum stay. Depart through March 31, 2006.

Southwest Sale to/from Orlando

Southwest Airlines' (tel. 800/435-9792; www.southwest.com) weekly Click 'n Save specials are highlighting Orlando this week, but many other destinations are included and some competitors are matching. It's a decent sale, but not a great one, and the fares within the Eastern U.S. are better than fares to/from the Western U.S.

A sample of one-way fares (before taxes and fees) between Orlando and:

  • Baltimore: $69 vs. $74 on USAir with travel through March 8
  • Chicago: $76 vs. $79 on major airlines, some with travel through May 23 and some through March 8
  • Houston: $94 vs. $119 on Continental, United and USAir (United and USAir travel through May 23 however)

Fares, as usual, range from $34 to $124 one-way and as always you may do better with a Southwest Ding fare (www.southwest.com/ding). Purchase by January 26, 2006, midnight PST; travel February 14 through June 9, 2006 (some of the lower fares currently only have travel through May); and comply with the 21-day advance purchase requirement. These fares are available only on Southwest's site.

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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