Airfare Update: Winter Flights to the Middle East and Beyond

by  Alex Schechter | Nov 14, 2013
Plane / Biletskiy_Evgeniy/iStock

A quick glance at Qatar Airways' current "Bigger World Promotion" will tell you two things: the folks at Qatar are really excited to join up with Oneworld Alliance (which will place them alongside British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Royal Jordanian, in addition to offering shared mileage among all the member airlines); second, the flight deals being offered right now aren't just East Coast-focused – they've got love for Texas and the midwest, too. Fares like Chicago to Addis Adaba for just $934, or Houston to Hanoi for $1,002, certainly grab our attention. And in addition to the rates themselves, we're also liking the focus on non-coastal cities – a trend we picked up on earlier this year.

In addition to these far-flung fares, we're loving some other routes that are currently on sale, and not just from the right and left coast. For example, we priced some choice fares to the Middle East (Qatar Airways, after all, has its main hub in Doha), and here's what we found:

As it turns out, Qatar isn't the only airline offering bargain flights to the Middle East this winter: though Qatar's Chicago to Bahrain for $964 isn't bad, an even better deal can be had through Gulf Air, which offers the same route for just $598 roundtrip. That's not all: after clicking around on Gulf Air's site for travel dates in mid-January, we also found New York to Abu Dhabi for $837, and Chicago to Riyadh for $750.

For midwestern travelers, the list goes on: in January, you can travel roundtrip from Chicago to: Dubai for $800 (KLM), Abu Dhabi for $875 (Royal Jordanian), and Muscat for $786 (Lufthansa). Of course, Muscat may be the most interesting deal here, as it's less touristy than the UAE's two blockbuster tourist cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so you're likely to have a more unique experience. Plus, hotel rates in this city skew high, and you'll be glad to have saved a few bucks on the airfare!

Also worth mentioning are two other lesser-traveled Middle Eastern cities: Amman and Baku. While the former offers a panoply of ancient Roman ruins, plus easy access to the Red Sea beaches in Aqaba, Baku is a buzzing metropolis with stunning architecture, both modern and historic. Flights to Amman are just $845 from Houston (British Airways), $847 from New York (British Airways), and $852 from Chicago (Lufthansa). Meanwhile, the Azeri capital is accessible via Turkish Airlines, with fares from $786 out of Houston, and $793 out of New York.

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