First of all, kudos to Swiss for listing these fares round-trip including all taxes and surcharges!  Why can't other airlines do this? Hmmm?

With winter almost over, this is the first time in memory that the airlines didn't have panicky (as in $300 round-trip with tax or so) dead of winter sales to Europe. A couple of winters ago, we saw New York/Paris nonstop for February travel on Air France at $250 round-trip with taxes and surcharges included. Not so this winter--fares remained stubbornly high.

Our theory for this is that fares from Europe to the US were relatively cheap, and with the cheap dollar Europeans were flocking to the US, taking up seats that Americans would otherwise fill. Plus, the airlines have cut capacity--a one-two punch.

Clearly, Barcelona remains one of the cheaper European gateways, with London still on the high side. One reason for that is the approximately $100 in taxes imposed by the British government on flights into and out of Heathrow Airport! That's in addition to US taxes/fees and fuel surcharges. Looks like Spain is going easier on the taxes.

Anyway, these Swiss fares may be as good as it gets this summer. We have no way of telling really, which is why we encourage you to sign up for fare alerts. We found New York to Barcelona, for instance, at $515 round-trip including taxes and surcharges for travel in August. That's pretty good, although no where near the $250 inclusive fares we found last summer (granted, those fares were a bit of a mistake--Delta forgot to include the fuel surcharge, but honored the fares anyway). By the way, we tried finding the Swiss fares via online travel agencies but it appears they are airline-site-only. Also, Swiss' web site makes it very easy to find seats at the lowest fares. Give it a try.

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