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Airlines Slash Trans-Pacific Airfares

By James Wilkinson

Travel to the US is now at its most affordable point ever in both economy and business class, with several airlines flying between Australia and Los Angeles dropping prices to as low as $971 including taxes.

United is offering busines class for $6859 return to LA

Virgin Blue’s $971 economy deal for flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney announced last week still remains the lowest in the market — alongside Qantas — despite Delta Air Lines releasing a new launch fare on Monday (Mar 16).

Delta reduced its Sydney-Los Angeles economy class fare to $747 plus taxes, taking the cost to a tick under $1100 in all — this was $30 cheaper than a fare the carrier announced last Friday (Mar 13).

Qantas has Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-San Francisco on sale for $971, while New York starts at $1098 and this sale ends on Friday (Mar 20).

Weighing into the trans-Pacific airfare war on Monday (Mar 16) was United Airlines, which stunned the market with a deal of just $6859 for Melbourne-Los Angeles return in business class including all taxes and charges.

V Australia has had business class fares on sale for just $5999 and currently is offering return flights for $6999 including tax for flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

United Airlines is also offering business class flights between Sydney and Los Angeles for $6876; Sydney and San Francisco for $6976; Melbourne and Chicago for $7519; and Sydney and New York from $7574.

“United Airlines is 100 per cent committed to the Australian market and we are very pleased to be offering our customers the opportunity to experience United’s new Business Class product at such a competitive rate,” said United Airlines general manager – Australia and New Zealand, Alison Espley.

In premium economy, V Australia has a competitive price of $1999 return available in the market.

Just six months ago, business class flights on Qantas and United were almost double the March 2009 levels, with $10,000 flights being considered a good deal.

But as the global economic crisis continues, trans-Pacific business class airfares of $4999 and below are potentially just around the corner.

Competition heats up on April 8 when V Australia launches direct Brisbane-Los Angeles flights and look for an exclusive SpiceNews report from the launch flight.