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February 23, 2004 -- Leaving for Europe now or later? Icelandair (www.icelandair.com) has some deals out right now that are worth taking notice of.

Let's start with the last-minute travelers. If you're flying before March 13 and can't find any terribly low fares to Europe, check out Icelandair's companion fares. They're low, they're lovely, and they're widely available, as long as you're flying with a friend. You have to buy them by March 1, but since you have to fly by March 13, that's not much of a restriction.

The fares are compelling:

  • Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis or Orlando to Reykjavik: $214
  • Boston/Minn/Orlando to Amsterdam/Frankfurt/Paris/London/Glasgow/Copenhagen/Oslo/Stockholm: $222
  • Baltimore to Amsterdam/Frankfurt/Paris/London/Glasgow: $222

If you can cram it into this last-minute schedule, you can also stop over in Iceland for up to seven days for free. Fortunately for procrastinators, there's no advance purchase on these fares - if they're still available when you call, you can set off the very evening you dial in. Book your tickets by phone at 800/223-5500. Ask for the "Share the Air Fare."

Wondering what to do with up to seven days in Iceland? We've answered that question in past columns. Check out the recommendations at the bottom of this column.

Early Birds Get Summer Discounts

Icelandair is also celebrating three new destinations with pretty good summer fares. But the flights aren't that frequent.

Their new flight to Munich leaves the US on Mondays and returns on Tuesdays. It'll be flying from June 21-Sept. 7. Their new flight to Berlin leaves Saturdays and Mondays, returning Sundays and Tuesdays between June 5 and August 29.

Roundtrip fares to both cities from Baltimore, Boston and New York start at $564; fares from Minneapolis and Orlando start at $614. And you can add up to a seven-day stay in Iceland for free. We checked several sample routes with July dates and these Icelandair fares came up the lowest by up to $250.

The other new route features flights to Helsinki, which begin June 4 and take off on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays through September.

As with the companion fare, book these tickets over the phone by calling 800/223-5500.