Down Under Fares Down

The price of going down under just keeps going down these days. For what would count down there as either a spring fling or a late-summer romance (that is, in November or May) fares are now as low as $740 including all taxes to Sydney nonstop from the West Coast and $940 on connecting service from the East Coast. Fares to Melbourne are in some cases even lower and Brisbane, Cairns and other destinations are also benefiting from the on-going fare war between United and Qantas. While November and May are traditionally the cheapest periods to cross the South Pacific, it's been a long time since we've seen deals this good.

It could be that the dominant incumbent carriers are simply getting a little nervous about the new maverick planning to enter the race soon. V Australia is the new international subsidiary of Australia's domestic Virgin Blue airline and the latest offshoot of the ever-growing, far-branching Virgin empire. Although originally set to start nonstop service from Los Angeles to Sydney next month, the launch date has been tentatively postponed until February because a strike at Boeing has caused delivery problems with their new jets. Once they do take to the air, expect them to shake things up a bit, as only a true blue Virgin company can.

Important note: Since this fare war started several weeks ago, although at considerably higher rates, departure dates are hard to come by in November but should be easy to find in May into early June.