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With leading airlines committed to major sales on routes around the world, and fares slashed by up to 40 per cent in sales during September, travellers are looking at a wide choice of holiday bargains running into early 2013.

Following the lead set by British Airways, airlines announcing major 
sales in the last couple of weeks 
include Malaysia Airlines, South African Airlines, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

The Caribbean, a destination hard-hit by the Government’s controversial Airline Passenger Tax (APT), which rose by eight per cent in April, shows some of the biggest price cuts: BA Holidays is offering just £499 for seven-night room-only stays in Tobago in November, based on three-star hotels.

Moneysupermarket.com has posted three-night room-only breaks in New York from £549 in January 2013. Orlando, Florida, is also seeing major price reductions, with seven-night room-only stays from £479, including flights ex-Gatwick and three-star hotels.

Bob Atkinson at Travelsupermarket.com says: “This happens every year 
when the schools go back. Airlines always look at this time to fill a substantial chunk of capacity in the winter months, and if one or two airlines take the lead on discounts, the rest are bound to pile in too.”

At flight price search engine Fly.com, spokesman Martin Schwitzner says: “Airline sales are a regular feature at this time of year: British Airways launched sales in the final week of August in 2011 and 2010, while traditionally American Airlines goes into the market a few days later. This year, the London Olympics was a special factor: BA ran a campaign urging potential passengers to back Team GB in the Games (NOT to fly) so its ‘Go after the Games’ sale is intended to kick-start demand again.

“As we have seen before, American Airlines tends to pick up the baton from BA, and plenty of other competitors then join in, especially in long-haul.

“American Airlines’ price cuts bring a range of US cities into bargain territory, with good discounts on flights to Chicago, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco and San Diego.

“But BA has thrown the net a little wider, including Antigua, Grenada and Cancun (Mexico) along with Miami.”

According to Fly.com, flights could be reduced by nearly 25 per cent (in some cases, by more than £200) to destinations worldwide.