Cyber Monday 2012: Our Favorite Airfare And Entertainment Deals

Cyber Monday is the newfangled cousin of Black Friday, when the Internet bursts with the money-saving deals that Black Friday offers in stores the Friday before.

Cyber Monday is probably best known for deals on tech and electronics, but the online shopping extends to airfare and other travel deals, as well. In fact, Gadling has already covered the best hotel deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s a sampling of the best airfare and entertainment deals we’ve found to celebrate Cyber Monday. Find any awesome travel deals, yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Air Deals
LAN and TAM: Up to 40% off flights to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Cathay Pacific: Up to 15% off flights, plus a prize drawing in which 30 passengers are selected to win 10,000 Asia Miles.
Vayama: Special Cyber Monday rates on international airlines such as China Airlines, Emirates, El Al, Korean Air, TACA, AirEuropa and more.
PayPal airfare matching: From now until December 31, PayPal will match prices for airfare you purchase, if you find that the tickets are advertised for a lower price at any merchant within 30 days of purchase. If, say, you buy tickets for $200 and the price goes down to $150, PayPal will simply pay you the difference, with a maximum $1,000 total and $250 payout per item.
StudentUniverse: Planning to offer up to $65 off certain flights to locations like Latin America, South Pacific, within the U.S. and more.
Other Travel Deals
MSC Cruises: Offering special “Cyber Monday Sale” rates on select 7-night, round-trip Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, beginning at $399.
Mauiva AirCruise: If you want something rather untraditional, you can try a sky version of a cruise with Mauiva. They’re offering 20% off select departures as part of a Cyber Monday sale.
Crested Butte ski package: Airfare to Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado and 41% off the regular season rate, starting at $649 for four nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets (plus taxes and resort fees).
Goldstar deals on entertainment: Cyber Monday offers include 20% off all Goldstar gift certificates, 40% off Cirque du Soleil’s “IRIS” in L.A., 38% off the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” 60% off the Snowbomb Tahoe Platinum Card – which grants four lift tickets, ski rentals and two free nights at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno – and more.
Extra Tips
Check out airlines that have had Cyber Monday deals in past years: Many Cyber Monday deals aren’t announced until the day-of, so start by checking out airlines that have worked in the past. These include American Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier, Southwest and AirTran.

Follow them on Twitter: Often, airlines update Twitter with their most by-the-minute deals. Try following @Delta, @AmericanAir, @VirginAmerica, @SouthwestAir and @JetBlueCheeps.

[Image credit: Flickr user Mike Miley]

China Airlines joins SkyTeam Alliance

Making regular trips to the Far East? You might want to reconsider your loyalty carrier. China Airlines has become the most recent airline to join the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines.

Headquartered in Taipei, China Airlines is the largest airline of Taiwan. The China Airlines network will complement those of Guangzhou-based China Southern and Shanghai-based China Eastern, both current SkyTeam members.

“Delta is delighted and honoured to welcome China Airlines into the SkyTeam alliance,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s president. “The addition of this well respected airline complements Delta’s existing service to Taiwan and with China Airline’s strong hub in Taipei our customers will benefit from improved access to one of the world’s fastest-growing regions.”

[Flickr via davidreid]

China Airlines fined for price fixing

China Airlines is the latest carrier to get fined for price-fixing air cargo rates. The Taiwan-based airline plead guilty and now faces a $40 million fine. Northwest Airlines has also plead guilty.

A total of 18 airlines have been snared by the Department of Justice in an ongoing investigation. Eight airline executives have also been charged. The Department of Justice has imposed a total of $1.6 billion in fines and given four executives jail time for a conspiracy that reaches back to early 2000. China Airlines was conspiring with other airlines to fix cargo rates to and from the United States, a violation of antitrust laws. Rates are supposed to be subject to the free market, but the airlines secretly agreed to set a rate in order to maximize profits.

For a complete list of the airlines and executives involved, click here.

Direct flights between China and Taiwan resume

The miles between Taiwan and mainland China are not many. But, in history the distance across the Taiwan Strait has been huge.

When I lived in Taiwan in the late 1990s, travel to cities in mainland China from Taiwan meant heading to another country or through Hong Kong first. There weren’t any direct flights otherwise. This meant a vacation that might have been an inexpensive and easy trip involved more time and money. As a result, we traveled in Taiwan or headed to Thailand instead.

Today the tides have changed. According to this article, the first direct passenger plane between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China (China) happened early this morning. The last such flight was in 1949 after China’s civil war when Chiang Kai-shek headed to Taiwan to set up another government. Along with this first flight will be 16 others over the course of today and several more throughout the week. Recently, there have been special tourist charter flights, but today air traffic has been normalized for the regular traveler who is not part of a special group.

This is big news indeed. It does indicate a more normalized relationship between Taiwan and the mainland, for one thing, and points to the power of the tourist dollar. Tourism between these two countries will economically benefit both. It’s estimated that by 2010 the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan could triple, according to the president of Taiwan’s China Airlines.

I’m wondering where they will all fit on a weekend? Seriously, there are some places in Taiwan that are already absolutely packed on a holiday.

Stop in Taipei, Save $100

Good deals abound for the traveler willing to take a Taipei pit stop. Not only will the usual $100 landing fee surcharge be lifted, but if you stay two nights you can get a $79/night deal at participating hotels. The “I Land Paradise” promotion (which applies to any Asia-bound China Airlines or EVA Airways flight departing from a U.S. airport) starts Oct. 1 and runs until June 30.

The main problem with the promotion is that there are no direct flights from Taipei to China’s mainland except during the Lunar New Year. So if you’re on your way to China and want to take advantage of the deal, you’ll need to go through Hong Kong and then catch a flight to the mainland. I’ve stopped in Taipei several times en route to Southeast Asia, but I’ve never left the airport. The lifted surcharge could certainly convince me to lengthen my stay.

Attractions include the Shilin Night Market (see The Kozy Shack’s photo) and the National Palace Museum. For more stuff to see and do, check out AOL’s Taipei site.