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Airfare Deals and News for the Week of Aug. 27, 2010

Labor Day discounts from Frontier, a Brazil sale from American Airlines, and why local carriers can save you money on inter-island Hawaii flights.

Labor Day Sale from Frontier

For those hoping to get away for Labor Day weekend, the holiday sale from Frontier's (tel. 800/432-1359; could be just the thing. Fares are valid for travel only on Sept. 4, 5, and 8. Seats are limited, and not all flights may be available.

All purchases must be made by Sept. 3. Round-trip fares include:

Brazil Sale from American Airlines

Save on fall travel to Brazil with American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; Discounted fares are available for travel from Nov. 19 through Dec. 10, to both Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. No blackout dates. Tickets require a three-day advance purchase. All bookings must be made by 11:59pm CT, Aug. 31.

From John F. Kennedy to Rio de Janeiro, fares are only valid on AA flights 255 and 256.

From the U.S. to Brasilia, flights do not operate on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

From Brasilia to the U.S., flights do not operate Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Round-trip fares include:

20% Off Porter Airlines

Save 20% on your next trip with Porter Airlines (tel. 888/619-8622; Just enter promo code CLASS20 at time of purchase. Valid for online bookings, for travel through March 31. Avoid blackout dates Dec. 16 through Jan. 5.

All purchases must be made by Wednesday, Sept. 1. Round-trip fares are listed in Canadian dollars and include:

Fall Sale from Alaska Airlines

Save on fall travel with the current sale from Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; Fares are valid for travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, from Sept. 8 through Dec. 15. Travel to Mexico is valid daily.

Tickets must be booked by Aug. 31, and require a 14-day advance purchase (except for Mexico & Hawaii fares, which require no advance purchase).

Beware of blackout dates from Nov. 20-30.

Round-trip fares include:

SAS Fall/Winter Sale

Save on fall/winter travel to Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe with the latest sale from SAS (tel. 800-221/2350; This sale is good for travel from Oct. 1 through March 31. Tickets require a Saturday night minimum stay, with an allowed maximum stay of 12 months.

All fares must be purchased by 11:59pm, Aug. 30. Round-trip fares include:

Why You Sometimes Need to Play Travel Agent

It's a dirty little secret in the airfare search business, but consumers around the world waste millions of their hard-earned dollars by overspending on airfare because current airfare search technology is far from perfect. We were reminded of this again today when we noticed a classic fare war between American and United on routes from each other's hubs (Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Washington) to Honolulu (both airlines reduced fares to around $420 round-trip including tax, with virtually no restrictions -- no minimum stay, no advance purchase, travel over a 330-day period).

But what if you actually wanted to go to Kona, Hawaii, rather than Honolulu, from, say, Miami? Well, all the usual airfare search suspects would have told you that the cheapest way to get there would cost you $688 round-trip including tax (we used travel dates in October in our sample query). Savvy traveler that you are, you know that doesn't make sense. Surely it doesn't cost $268 to travel round-trip inter-island, right?

Trouble is, many, if not most, consumers aren't as savvy as you are, and they're going to book that fare. Fact is, you can fly between Honolulu and Kona almost year round for $150 round-trip including tax on two airlines (and local residents know that there are even cheaper deals available, at least for Hawaiian residents). So most people -- calculators please! -- end up paying $118 more than they should. If you're a family of four or a group, that price difference can add up. So how do you beat this costly flaw in booking technology? How can you be sure you're not overlooking a cheaper connection on some itty-bitty carrier you've never heard of? More on this in the Airfarewatchdog blog.

Additional reporting by Tracy W. Stewart

George Hobica is a syndicated travel journalist and blogger whose website,, tracks unadvertised airfare wars and fare sales, including the most helpful and always updated Top 50 Airfares.

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