August 6, 2003 -- Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days wane as December approaches. Across the top of the country, a chill enters the air; leaves fall from the trees. Winter's coming, and there's nothing you can do about it, right?
Wrong. Hop on a plane to New Zealand, and you'll zip straight through winter to spring. Qantas and Air New Zealand are both running spring sales to Middle Earth right now, with pretty good prices -- especially for dates approaching the New Zealand summer.
Start with Qantas. Their killer is a $999 round-trip fare from New York to Auckland. That's about $200 lower than any other fare from the East Coast that we've seen, and a terrific deal. Considering the fares from Boston and Washington are $1261, it's worth taking a bus to JFK for.
Their West Coast fares aren't too shabby, either. The jewel in Qantas' crown is a $799 fare from LA to Auckland. As fares are much higher from other gateways -- $931 from the Bay Area, $941 from San Diego and $941 from Las Vegas -- frugal West Coasters may want to consider making their own low-fare plans to get to LA for this $799 deal.
Fares to Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown are also available for $100-200 more than the Auckland fares.
Book by August 15, leave the US before December 5 and return to the US by December 14 to get these fares. There's a 7-day minimum stay, and a one-month maximum stay. Book online at www.qantasusa.com/webDeal.php?ID=84.
It must be tough being a Kiwi, with those arrogant Australians always trying to horn in on your turf. Air New Zealand is fighting back with their own deals, all available at least through August 14 at http://22.214.171.124/usa/airfarespecial.
If you absolutely must get to New Zealand right now, Air NZ has a $799 fare from Los Angeles to Auckland for immediate travel -- departing August 17-31, returning August 31 or September 3-14. Spring fares for dates further in advance are a bit higher, at $848 from Los Angeles to Auckland for travel starting August 6 through December 5 and returning by December 14. There's a seven day minimum stay and a one month maximum stay.
Like Qantas, fares to Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown are also available for $100-200 more than the Auckland fares, and open-jaw fares (arriving in one city and leaving from another) are also available.
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