December 19, 2003 -- Winter has finally kicked in full force, so it's good to see that someone's looking towards spring. The most recent sale from SWISS, Switzerland's perpetually struggling national airline, covers departures up until the end of March and returns up until the end of April. That's as far in advance as we're going to get at this time of year, and the prices are good enough that early birds can feel comfortable locking them in.
Advance planners aren't the only ones who benefit here, because the fares also cover flights in January and February. You have to move fast, though: these fares are only on sale through Sunday, Dec. 21. A Saturday-night stay is required, and you can't stay longer than a month.
Also, remember that all SWISS flights go through Geneva or Zurich. So if you're flying to Paris or Amsterdam, you'll be backtracking. Whether that's worth the savings you find with these fares is up to you.
We compared SWISS' sale fares to other airlines' published fares for mid-March dates, and SWISS came out ahead on many routes. Here are the best deals (all roundtrip, before $90 or so in taxes and fees):
- From Boston: Geneva $274; Zurich $299
- From Chicago: Paris $314
- From Los Angeles: Geneva $376; Paris $371; Rome $453
- From Miami: Amsterdam $335; Geneva $319; Rome $368; Zurich $346
- From New York: Geneva $312; Zurich $299
If you're interested in these fares, buy them on SWISS' Web site at www.swiss.com/web/MACNS4/tg-to-so-usa-europe-super-special. We couldn't find these special fares on travel agency sites.
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