So long, Cologne!

Catch Continental's unadvertised summer airfare sale with cheap flights and great deals to Cologne, Germany.

Updated June 17 (see below)

No, no, we're not asking you to stop using cologne. Or deodorant, after-shave, toilet water, eau de somesuch and whatever other fancy tricks you've got in your toilet bag and hide up your sleeves to get you through the dog days of summer without smelling like a... well, like a wet dog. Your cover-up may strike some as a bit heavy-handed and a French shower really is no substitute for one that actually involves water, but it sure beats the alternative and is much appreciated, truly.

Rather than lecture you on personal hygiene, we're actually here to tell you a breaking "good news, bad news" kind of story, and in true New York tabloid style, we'll insult you first, then sock you with the bad news and finally pick you up with a teaser at the end. All right, let's get to the point already!

Continental's recent announcement that they will stop flying to Cologne, Germany, by Labor Day after little over 2 years of service marks the end of what was consistently one of the least expensive—and probably least profitable—routes to continental Europe. Remember those $230 roundtrip fares with taxes back in the winter of 2007 when the route was young and oil was cheap? Well, you just hold on to that memory because it'll be something to tell your grandkids about.

It also proves yet again that when it comes to air travel these days, what's good for the goose (that would be you, the flying public, freshly showered and nicely perfumed) often isn't so good for the gander (in this case a chastened Continental), even though in this sorry story the lucky golden goose still gets cooked in the end, because we'll all probably be paying more to get to Germany soon.

The closure of this route adds at least another couple of nails in the coffin of transatlantic competition and at this rate, the whole hard-won Open Skies caboodle that after years of negotiation was meant to herald a surge in traffic and bargains galore seems headed for an early funeral, a fast victim of OPEC and circumstance.

Until that doleful day, one little piece of good news is that Continental is doing what few dare to do these days and having an old-fashioned fire sale to fill seats for the remainder of the season. For peak summer travel, non-stop fares from Newark are just over $800, although unfortunately the even better August fares that we've been showing you for over a month seem to have suddenly disappeared overnight and gone the way of most good deals, that is into the eternal night.

Good News: The great August deals are back after a short, inexplicable absence, once again making Cologne the cheapest European destination for summer travel from many cities, with round-trip fares including taxes starting at $640 non-stop from Newark and $780 from Houston. Be sure to check out all the fares.