Cheap Airfares! Buy Now!

Travel Blog  •  Rob Verger  •  05.01.09 | 10:30 AM ET

Photo by egmb757lover, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

There is an amazing multitude of low fares for air travel out there right now. Want to fly cheaply to Australia? Shanghai? Las Vegas? I’ve rounded up some great travel deals below.

Fly nonstop from New York to Shanghai on Continental for an advertised $431 one-way. (A round-trip purchase is required, and there are other restrictions.) If you play by Continental’s rules, you should be able to fly to Shanghai and back, nonstop, for less than $1,000 after taxes and fees.

Fly to Ireland from New York or Atlanta on Delta for an advertised $159 one-way. (Again, there are restrictions, you need to buy a round-trip ticket and this fare is before tax and fees.) Buy before May 6; this is for travel in the fall. Delta is also launching new flights to Africa in June, and has other promotions, too.

Southwest is having a summer sale. You need to book your tickets before May 14, two weeks in advance of your travel, and the deals are for flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays before Oct. 28. The airline is advertising fares starting at $49 one-way, and a Southwest rep quoted me a sample fare of $89 one-way between Seattle and Las Vegas.

Virgin America is launching new service to Orange County, California, and is advertising fares of $49 one-way between San Francisco and Orange County (book before May 4), among other good deals. For example: For an advertised fare of $79 one-way between Boston and Los Angeles, book before May 30.

United is advertising incredibly cheap fares to Australia. The website quotes sample fares of $320 (taxes and fees extra, of course) one-way between Los Angeles and Melbourne or Sydney; round-trip purchase is required and the tickets at that price “are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights/dates,” according to United’s website.

A note: Most of the time, I end up buying my tickets through a site like Orbitz, and sites like TripAdvisor or FareCompare can lead to great values, too. For example, through Continental’s Shanghai promotion via their website, you can fly from Newark to Shanghai for $930—after taxes and fees—round-trip, nonstop, leaving June 16 and returning June 24. When I plugged those same cities with the same travel dates into Orbitz, I found that Northwest / Delta was advertising a total ticket price of $838, with a stop in Tokyo. Deals like that make me want to buy a ticket to China right now. I think I’m salivating.

This is just a sampling of some of the good deals out there. What others have you found? Book any cheap tickets lately?