Saturday 13 September 2003

Amazing Airfare Sale to New Zealand

As regular readers know, once every few months, an airfare deal comes along that is so great that it inspires a special edition of the weekly newsletter.

Saturday saw the release of such a deal.  Air New Zealand has just released an incredibly low fare - $559 roundtrip between Los Angeles and Auckland (plus about $48 in taxes and $15 per booking to send tickets to you).

This fare is good for travel on Wednesdays, only, and you can start your travel between 15 September and 15 November.  Higher fares allow for travel on other days.

There are a lot of restrictions, of course, on such a low fare, but the price is extraordinarily low.  If you live elsewhere in the US, simply add any domestic roundtrip ticket that will match the flight times of the Air NZ flights.

Air New Zealand is a high quality airline with good service on the 11 hour flight to New Zealand.  It belongs to the Star alliance, so you have a choice of airline frequent flier programs that you can place something like 10,000 miles for the roundtrip to NZ in - this is worth about $200 just by itself, making the true cost of the ticket much lower.

This is also a great time of year to be visiting.  Being in the southern hemisphere, their seasons are opposite to ours, so NZ is going into spring, and particularly if you delay your travels until October or November, you'll be enjoying long warm days in a lovely country (okay - I'm biased!  I'm originally from New Zealand).

More details are on Air New Zealand's website, but for some strange reason are hidden away.  This is the page to go visit.  Your travel agent can also help, but Air NZ will charge $599 for tickets purchased through a travel agent (thanks for nothing, Air NZ!), but you will at least then save on the $15 ticket delivery fee!  And it also seems that there might be slightly more liberal terms and conditions on tickets sold through travel agents.

Now for the difficult issue.  Should you urgently rush to book and buy these tickets NOW, or should you wait until maybe Tuesday, giving Qantas (and possibly United as well) enough time to decide if it is going to match this fare or not?  Impossible to say.  This fare is so low (and so restricted) that perhaps the other two carriers might decide just to ignore it totally, and there is a danger that the limited seats at this price might quickly sell out.  On the other hand, usually each airline copies the deals on the other airlines.  So if you have a strong preference for Qantas (or the different mileage programs Qantas participates in) it might be worth waiting a few days to see if Qantas matches.

Lastly, while I have your attention, a request.  If you haven't already done so, please consider answering my survey on spam.  The answers to date have revealed surprising details that contradict most other published spam surveys, and I'm keen to get as large a broad sample of answers as possible to ensure these results are statistically valid.

Please also encourage your friends to visit the page and answer the survey, too.

Until the regular newsletter on Friday, please enjoy safe travels.

David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

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