Off-Peak Holiday Fares
In past years, we've seen off-peak holiday fares on most routes, but these are harder to find lately. We have come across a few routes here and here, with travel on Thanksgiving Day and returns on the same day, the day after, or on November 29 or December 25. One such route is Columbus, OH to Minneapolis on Continental for $138 RT plus tax. We expect that more fares like this will pop up next week, so stay tuned.
Midwest Airlines Sale
On Tuesday, Midwest Airlines (tel. 800/452-2022; www.midwestairlines.com) announced a bunch of new sale fares pretty much system wide. Travel is valid any day but Sunday, with a 21-day advance purchase. The last day for outbound travel is November 16 and the last day for returns in December 19. Fares carry a three-day minimum stay restriction. Fares range as low as $134 round-trip (Kansas City to Milwaukee or Nashville) to $198 round-trip (Milwaukee to the West Coast). Purchase by midnight November 9.
Delta Air lines (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) is having a system-wide sale to Hawaii which other carriers are matching. Here are some sample round-trip fares before taxes and fees:
- Boston to Honolulu $374
- Ft. Lauderdale to Honolulu $384
- Houston to Honolulu $344
- Las Vegas to Honolulu $274
- New Orleans to Honolulu $364
- New York to Honolulu $384
- Pasco, WA to Honolulu $394
- Philadelphia to Honolulu $364
- San Antonio to Honolulu $364
You can see all the available fares on Airfarewatchdog's Honolulu page. Travel any day of the week through January 31, 2007. Blackout dates are December 16, 2006 through January 7, 2007. There is no specified end date to this sale, as far as we can see, so it may expire at any moment.
Korean Air to China
Korean Air (tel. 800/438-5000; www.koreanair.com) is offering discounted fares from Los Angeles to various destinations in China. Below are some sample fares including taxes and fees:
Depart November 13, Return November 21
- Los Angeles to Beijing $866 vs. $718 on United
- Los Angeles to Guangzhou $866 vs. $950 on Delta
Depart November 26, Return December 11
- Los Angeles to Shanghai $866 vs. $800 on American
As you can see, other carriers are offering lower fares on most of these routes so shop around unless Korean Air is your carrier of choice. Travel outbound between November 1, 2006 and November 30, 2006. Service does not operate daily. Purchase your tickets by November 20, 2006.
Sale to Europe
Lufthansa (tel. 800/399-5838; www.lufthansa.com) has announced a winter sale to Europe. Here are some sample fares including taxes and fees:
Depart December 4, Return December 11
- Newark to Madrid $411 vs. next lowest $462 on American
- San Francisco to London $438 vs. $445 on Continental
Depart February 12, Return February 25
- Boston to Dublin $428 vs. $470 on Continental
- Portland to Frankfurt $487 vs. $608 on Air France.
As you can see, Lufthansa is offering the lowest fare on all of our sample routes, although not by much in some cases (you'll find the best deals to German cities). The best search engine for finding these fares is Orbitz.com, which as we noted last week does still provide international flexible date searches (see their site map to find this functionality). Depart between November 9, 2006 and March 31, 2007. Complete all travel by April 30, 2007. Purchase your ticket by November 15, 2006.
Alaska Airlines Sales
Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) is this week offering a 15 per cent discount on flights between Canada and San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Phoenix and Tucson. To receive the discount, enter e-certificate code EC05806 when making reservations at alaskaair.com. Travel between November 28, 2006 and February 14, 2007. This offer expires November 12, 2006. Alaska is also offering a $49 to $109 one-way west coast sale, which must be purchased by November 16 for travel by February 15. Holiday blackouts apply, and tickets can be changed for a $50 fee.
Cathay's November Deal of the Month: Bangkok
Cathay Pacific (tel. 800/233-2742; www.cathay-usa.com) is offering flights to Bangkok as their deal of the month with before-tax fares starting at $754 round-trip from Los Angeles or San Francisco and $150 more from New York. Seats are difficult to find however, and they're not even the best fares you'll find to the City of Angels during this time period. Below are some sample fares including all taxes and fees:
Depart November 10, Return November 21
- Los Angeles to Bangkok $814 vs. next lowest $783 on China Airlines
- New York to Bangkok $964 vs. $984 on China Airlines
Depart November 26, Return December 11
- Los Angeles to Bangkok $814 vs. $783 on China Airlines
China Airlines is matching or slightly beating these sale fares, and both carriers fly with connections. Depart between November 1, 2006 and November 30, 2006 from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Purchase your ticket by November 30, 2006.
Refunds After the Fare Goes Down
We got an email yesterday from a reader questioning our earlier reporting that US Airways is one of the airlines that will offer a voucher for future travel, without deducting a change fee, when a non-refundable fare goes down after purchase. He says a US Airways representative explained that the airline didn't offer refunds (assuming, of course, that the time and dates of the original flight aren't changed in any way) in such circumstances, but rather refunds any price difference minus $100. A few months ago, we received an email from a travel agent who also questioned our accuracy on this matter. She insisted that US Air would deduct a change fee, even if the customer asked for a refund in the form of a travel voucher rather than in cash. Well, we're happy to report that we are right. US Air actually spells all this out on their Web site under their Guaranteed Air Fare Refund policy. So if you're hesitant about buying an airfare because you're not sure it's at "rock bottom" US Air might be a good choice.
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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