The Real Deal: Fly round-trip to Addis Ababa from $1,630, and your companion flies free (in other words, you each pay $815, plus taxes). Both travelers also receive four complimentary one-way flights within Ethiopia.
When: Depart by Mar. 19, 2008.
The fine print: Airfare must be booked by phone or through a travel agent. Note that the two travelers must have the same flight itinerary in order to qualify for the free companion fare. Additional airport taxes and fuel surcharges range from about $190 to $400 per person depending on the destination and the travel dates; the person who flies on the free companion ticket must still pay the additional taxes and surcharges. The maximum stay is 21 days; no minimum stay. A visa is required for U.S. citizens and can be obtained upon arrival at the Addis Ababa airport for about $20 cash. Read these guidelines before booking any Real Deal.
Book by: Mar. 19, 2008.
Contact: Ethiopian Airlines, 800/445-2733, seeyouinethiopia.com.
Why it's a deal: The lowest round-trip fare we found through Kayak for travel between D.C. and Addis Ababa in late February was $1,381 (multiple airlines), with one stop on the way over and two stops on the way back. In comparison, you and a companion would save $566 each by booking through Ethiopian Airlines—and you'll be subjected to fewer stops.
Trip details: Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa's major carriers, has launched a sale for springtime travel to Addis Ababa on its Boeing 767 planes. The flight from D.C. takes about 16 hours, with a stop to refuel and change crews in Rome, and three meals are served.
Note that Ethiopian Airlines departs only from Dulles airport in Washington, D.C., so if you are traveling from another U.S. gateway, you'll need to fly to D.C. on a carrier such as United or Continental and then connect with the Ethiopian flight.
If you purchase airfare to Addis Ababa, not only will your companion fly there for free, but you will both be able to take advantage of four one-way flights within Ethiopia. Lalibela, Aksum, and Dire Dawa are among the cities served by Ethiopian Airlines.
ou can find out more about awe-inspiring churches and sites in Lalibela and Aksum by reading our recent articles, Sacred Africa and Aksum, Ethiopia's Ancient Capital. For more tips on what to see and do in Ethiopia, check the country's official site, tourismethiopia.org.
Ethiopian Airlines' free companion airfare sale extends to 28 additional African destinations, including Cairo, Egypt, or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from $1,360, and Dakar, Senegal from $1,410. However, the extra perk of four domestic flights not valid for countries other than Ethiopia.