Deals Without Borders

The new year is off to a good start as the cost of international travel begins to reflect the dramatic drop in oil prices and fares look likely to fall even futher as airlines scramble to fill seats with recession-weary travelers.

As mentioned several times already on this blog, Aer Lingus has jumped the gun with their spring and summer sale. Offering fares starting at just $490 with taxes for nonstop flights to Dublin and Shannon until mid-June and only $100 more for peak summer travel, these bargains certainly look very good compared to last year's sky-high prices, so now may be a good time to dig out your vacation planner and lock in a great deal. The sale runs through January 21, but the best seats will surely be gone long before that.

Apart from the merits of Ireland itself as a destination, Dublin airport remains our favorite gateway to Europe thanks to an unbeatable combination of generally cheap and plentiful trans-atlantic and intra-European flights and an easy one-stop transfer shop to over 130 points beyond the Emerald Isle. This in contrast to London where you'd have to trek all the way across town from Heathrow to either Gatwick, Stansted or Luton to catch a bargain.

You can either purchase your connecting flight on a single ticket from Aer Lingus, although these are only available to a limited number of the airline's destinations - still too many to mention here, but we list fares to most of them; or you can cobble together your own itinerary using Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Germanwings, Flybe or any of the dozen or so other carriers that connect the Irish captial to Britain and the rest of Europe.

For something entirely different but equally momentous, as we told you last week, V Australia is selling seats to Sydney nonstop from Los Angeles for an unprecendented flat rate of $900 with taxes through early fall and Qantas has now decided to match this bid and raise the stakes by offering similar great deals from a much wider selection of U.S. cities to even more Aussie joints, including nonstop flights from San Francisco and direct service from New York, all starting as early as February 1. G'Day USA indeed! Remember to check our fares to Melbourne and Brisbane while you're at it, and keep in mind that both sales are set to end tomorrow at midnight.