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Galloping to Galapagos

Yes, the alliteration was inevitable, and rather gratuitous at that, because even by air it's more likely to feel like a plodding turtle trot, at least for those of us without access to private intercontinental jets for whom there really is no fast and easy way to get to the Galapagos Islands. "We fly for those who want to go farthest," is the motto of one of the airlines serving the archipelago, and it does seem fitting that one of the most remote, isolated and pristine spots on Earth should not be too easily accessible.

Still, if you're fortunate enough to live in or near a city that has non-stop service to Guayaquil—Miami, Houston or New York—it can actually be a fairly smooth and painless one-stop jaunt to the end of the world, although unless you time your connections wisely you may be in for an overnight layover both coming and going.

If, on the other hand, you're starting out from anywhere else, or merely want to save money by not flying non-stop, the journey can become a long, slow slog down the spine of Central America, with one, two, three or even four pit stops along the way, since the best deals are usually offered by a host of smaller Central American carriers, such as Copa, Lacsa, and Taca Airlines.

Nor is it cheap, although it doesn't have to be nearly as expensive as you might expect, either. To complicate matters a bit, none of the major online travel sites will sell you a ticket for the entire itinerary, but you can easily piece one together yourself if you prefer not to go through a specialized travel agency.

Ecuador is often the cheapest country south of the Equator to get to, so finding a decent fare shouldn't be a problem. Guayaquil, in particular, is one of the most competitive markets in Latin America and we currently list fares from Los Angeles, Miami and New York for under $500, and also had some great bargains to Quito posted earlier in the fall starting at just over $300.

From the mainland, you have a choice of daily flights to Baltra and San Cristóbal on Tame or Aerogal (Aerolineas Galapagos) who both sell their tickets online. Depending on the season, fares range from $300 to $400 round-trip including taxes and are reportedly set by the government, so they shouldn't differ or change much, although you may change travel dates without incurring penalties.

In short, with some propitious planning, fortuitous timing and tortoise patience, you may be able to get to carapace paradise for little more than $600, plus the price of admission, assuming they'll even let you in! Just get back on that horse and keep an eye out for a good fare to Guayaquil or Quito, which we will most likely show on our Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and/or New York pages.

Categories: Caribbean/Mexico/Latin America Airfares

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Germany Fares Update

Alas, the long-running Lufthansa sale that survived several extensions and numerous tweaks has finally come to end, as all good things must. The bad news is that fares to Germany and the rest of Europe have gone up anywhere from $40 to $150, but the good news is that they are still some of the best deals currently available to continental Europe for winter travel.

For this reason we will keep listing them, albeit it with the caveat that they are no longer the lowest fares of the season and may yet again come down at some point in the future. In other words, if you need to make travel arrangements now you could do worse than look at these fares; otherwise, you might want to hold off for a bit and see if Lufthansa launches another sale anytime soon.

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

2 for 1 coupon code offer on Virgin America

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In yet another effort to drive traffic away from online travel agencies (or at least that's one way to look at it), Virgin America is offering two seats for the price of one for travel Nov 26 to Mar 19, with the obvious sold out dates over Christmas and the school vaca hols.

Use Promo Code DIGGNATION when booking on Virgin's site.

 

The fine print:

Promo Code discount is only valid for two guests traveling on the same itinerary. Offer ends at 11:59pm Pacific Time on December 7, 2007. Promo Code is valid for travel in the Main Cabin between November 26, 2007 and March 19, 2008. Blackouts are December 19, 2007 through January 6, 2008, February 14, 15 and 18, 2008. If travel is changed to a date outside of this window, or if itinerary is modified so that there are not two guests traveling on the same flights, Promo Code discount will become inapplicable, and guest will be responsible for any increase in air fare. The Promo Code may be used only towards newly-booked travel and may not be applied to prior bookings. Promo Code discount will be deducted off of base fare. Promo Code may not be redeemed for cash. Offer may not be combined with any other sale or promotion.

 

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares

20% Off Flights to Europe on AA

Posted by Jonathan Weinberg on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

American Airlines is offering another exclusive deal to their DealFinder users, but Airfarewatchdog.com has the scoop for you.  Here's the deal...

Book any trip from the continental US to Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt or Zurich between January 7, 2008 and April 13, 2008 and save 20%.  You must book by December 4th via the AA.com website using the promo code DFBCDL08.

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Frontier Airlines 2-day sale available only on frontierairlines.com

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yep, Frontier is doing it too. Their-site-only fare deals. Purchase this latest sale by November 28 and complete travel by Mar 5 next year.

Also:

  • 10 day advance purchased required (Mexico excluded)
  • Choose off-peak travel days
    • Tuesday and Wednesday for US
    • Monday - Thursday for Mexico travel
  • Fares shown are each way, roundtrip purchase required
  • Fares advertised do not include government taxes and fees

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Orbitz to list JetBlue fares

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This press release says it all. What it doesn't say is why Orbitz didn't list JetBlue's fares before. (They did at one time, then didn't, and now, I guess, they will).

 

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Airline Industry News

Yet another Southwest.com sale

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Southwest ends one sale, and the next day begins another. Seldom have we seen so many serial sales from these guys. This sale ends midnight Central Time Dec. 17. Fares are nationwide and $99 oneway or less.

More rules:

 

  • Available only on southwest.com.
  • 14-day advance purchase required.
  • Purchase November 27 through December 17, 2007, midnight Central Time.
  • Travel December 11, 2007 through March 7, 2008.
  • Travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday only.
  • Blackout dates include: December 21-22, 26-30, 2007 and February 15 & 24, 2008.

We're posting these as fast as we can, noting airlines that are matching.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares

Germany Getaway Giveaway

All right, so it's not exactly a freebie, but just when you thought fares to Germany couldn't get any lower, they in fact have, with an even more unexpected and most un-Germanic logic that have prices falling in inverse relationship to the distance traveled, and in some cases going so low they might as well be free.

From Phoenix and Las Vegas you can now fly the 5,600 plus miles to Frankfurt for under $350 (that's round-trip including taxes), and for a few extra bucks you can wing it non-stop from the West Coast. That's actually less than a 2,000-mile shorter trip from the East Coast will cost you, although fares from here surely are nothing to scoff at.

Especially in this age of skyrocketing fuel prices and surchages, these could well be historically low prices, adjusted for inflation, grease marks and what have you. Just don't dilly-dally over them bargains too long because this history lesson officially ends at midnight, although Lufthansa does have a history of extending their sales.

Categories: Europe/Africa/Middle East Airfares

Air Canada WebSavers becoming a daily thing now

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Honestly, if our business model here at airfarewatchdog.com were based on processing automated, published airfares, I think we'd be slitting our wrists right about now. Every time we turn on our computers here at world headquarters in our apartment high above 8th Avenue, we find yet another airline offering serious discounts to visitors to their own web sites. Discounts that they are not sharing with Travelocity, Orbitz and what have you.

Seems like Air Canada is getting seriously into this racket. Today, for example, they have a fare from Seattle to Toronto for $374 RT (CDN) all inclusive via aircanada.com. That very same route on the days we checked (depart Jan 8, return Jan 15) is an incredible $558 RT CDN on Travelocity.ca. Whoa! That is a serious discount. See today's webSavers, which must be purchased by Nov 27 (that's today!) for travel through Feb 13, 2008.

Which would you rather pay?

 

The Air Canada.com price:

 

 

OR the Travelocity.ca price:

 

 

 

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Airfare Tips, Domestic Canadian Fares

New JetBlue sale

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

JetBlue has lowered prices on many routes. Their coast to coast fares have been running over $300 lately, hardly a great deal. Now they're down under $300. Fares to Florida from the Northeast are down to a more reasonable $69 each way.

We had trouble finding seats on some of these routes using Travelocity, but found better availability on Jetblue.com for the same travel dates. Is JetBlue holding back inventory? We don't know what is up with this.

Here are the official rules:

Fares require a 14-day advance purchase. Tickets must be purchased on or before November 30, 2007. Travel must take place on or after January 08, 2008. Travel must be completed by February 13, 2008. Travel must take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Saturday. Fares may not be available between December 16, 2007 and January 08, 2008. Fares do not include Passenger Facility Charges of up to $9 each way, September 11th Security Fees of up to $5 each way and a Federal Segment Tax of $3.40 per domestic segment.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Categories: Domestic US Fares
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