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Airfare Deals and News for the Week of Dec. 17, 2010

A Virgin America sale, Continental's new FareLock guarantee, and whether or not airlines and online travel agencies honor mistakes in pricing.

Aer Lingus Winter Sale to Europe

Aer Lingus (tel. 800/223-6537; has discounted prices for travel to Europe this winter. Travel period begins sometime in January depending on the destination and goes through March 31, 2011. Lowest fares are available for travel Monday-Thursday. Add on an extra $15 each way for travel Friday-Sunday. These fares are not eligible for mileage accrual so if you're looking to bank some miles on a trip across the pond, you may have to pay a few more bucks. Blackout dates: from Boston: Feb. 1 -25, March 10-15; from Chicago: March 9-24. You must book by 7pm ET on Dec. 20, 2010.

Sample round-trip fares with taxes include:

New Year, New Sale on Virgin America

Virgin America's (tel. 877/359.8474; is offering its latest sale for travel in the New Year. Although the travel period for this sale is between Dec. 27, 2010-May 11, 2011, you are likely to only find these fares starting in January. Nonetheless, there are some good deals here for a post-holiday getaway. Lowest fares are found for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday travel. A 14-day advance purchase is required and tickets must be booked by 11:59pm PST Dec. 20, 2010.

Sample round-trip fares include:

Cancun service begins Jan. 19, 2011 from Los Angeles and Jan. 20, 2011 from San Francisco.

Holiday Sale from Sun Country

Save on holiday travel to Sun Country's (tel. 800/752-1218; warm weather destinations like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and more. Travel is valid through March 9, and all tickets must be booked by Dec. 23 at 11:59pm CT.

Round-trip fares require a 3-day advance purchase, and include:

Continental Launches FareLock, Guarantees a Fare for 3-7 Days

This is sure to be dismissed as just another attempt to earn ancillary revenue, and perhaps it is just that. But Continental Airlines (tel. 800/523-3273; announced a new option for consumers to lock in a fare for 3 days with fees starting at $5, or for 7 days with fees starting at $9 (the "starting" part is key, because fees vary depending on the route). Continental has always allowed you to lock in a reservation for 24 hours and to cancel with no fee or penalty. But this is different.

Under the reservation lock policy, your seat was held, but the fare could go up or down while you made up your mind to book.

This new option allows you to lock in the fare as well as the reservation. How's it work exactly? We'll show you.

From the Mailbag: Will Recent Fat-Finger Fares be Honored?

Q: I recently received several airfare alerts by e-mail that American Airlines had dropped fares to Europe to under $300 round-trip including taxes for winter travel. By the time I could make a decision, the fares were gone. Was this what they call a "fat-finger fare" and if so, did American honor the fares? Also, any chance that these deals will be repeated? I also read online that there was a "mistake" promo code deal on Expedia that allowed travelers to get air and hotel packages in Las Vegas for nothing. Were those honored?

A: Find out.

Additional reporting by Peter Thornton

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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