August 8, 2003 -- Are European airlines just bashful? Several airlines are offering barn-burner fares for European travel through December, but they aren't tooting their horns about it. So it's good that we're here to give you the full scoop: If you want to nail down flights for fall travel, the fares are starting to arrive.
Icelandair, for instance, has an unpublished sale on fares for travel between October 30 and the end of the year. For the lowest fares, you must travel Mondays through Thursdays, and Dec. 18-23 and Dec. 26 are blacked out. Fares on Fridays-Sundays appear to be $25 higher each way. But oh, what fares! We saw:
- Minneapolis-Frankfurt: $216 + tax
- Baltimore-Frankfurt: $220 + tax
- Boston-Amsterdam: $232 + tax
- Boston-Paris: $234 + tax
- Baltimore-Amsterdam: $254 + tax
- Baltimore-Paris: $285 + tax
These fares are unannounced, but we think they're sticking around. A Saturday night stay is required, and the maximum stay is one month. Icelandair fares also include a stopover of up to three nights in Reykjavik. Iceland is a unique and fascinating place, full of glaciers and moonscapes, and we recommend stopping over if you can. We originally found these very low fares on Travelocity, so purchase online at www.icelandair.com or www.travelocity.com.
Iberia's late-fall fares are also unannounced and also terrific if you're intending to head to Spain this fall. We only found these low fares on www.iberia.com, not on any of the online travel agencies. Even on Iberia's own Web page, these fares are in the booking engine but not on their 'fare list' page. We found these fares for weekend travel during November:
- New York-Madrid/Barcelona: $343 + tax
- Boston-Madrid/Barcelona: $413 + tax
- Chicago-Madrid/Barcelona: $413 + tax
- Miami-Madrid/Barcelona: $433 + tax
Iberia couldn't get back to us in time for this column, and we couldn't find the fares' restrictions on their site. But they don't seem to require a Saturday night stay.
Last but not least, British Airways is having the only "real" sale of the bunch (meaning it's actually been announced). Their low fares cover trips from the US to London, Sept. 4-Oct. 29 and Dec. 18-Dec. 23. You have to travel to the UK on a Monday-Wednesday and return on a Tuesday-Thursday to get the best fares, and a Saturday night stay is required. Fares include:
- New York-London: $318 + tax
- Boston-London: $338 + tax
- Washington, DC-London: $378 + tax
- Chicago or Miami-London: $438 + tax
- Dallas, LA or San Francisco-London: $458
Buy online before August 15 at www.british-airways.com.