Deals Of The Week: Austrian alternatives; capital connection; Corsica direct; Rhineland rebound

AUSTRIAN ALTERNATIVES

Ten days from now, the Christmas market begins in Vienna. Fares to the Austrian capital are traditionally high, in the absence of no-frills flight. But Air Berlin now offers a cut-price alternative for people who don't mind spending 45 minutes in Germany en route to Austria.

Starting this week, the airline (0870 738 8880, www.airberlin.com) flies from London Stansted to Vienna via one of two German cities. The late-morning flight to Mönchengladbach goes on to the Austrian capital. So does the early-afternoon departure to Dortmund. Return flights from Stansted to Vienna are available for €238 (£170) return in late November. In both cases, you spend about 45 minutes on the ground in Germany on each journey.

Air Berlin sees itself as a low-cost, with-frills airline, so you should get coffee and sandwiches onboard.

Vienna's Christkindlmarkt begins on 15 November and continues from 9am-9pm daily until Christmas Eve - when it closes for good at 5pm.

CAPITAL CONNECTION

A new challenger starts flying to Berlin next Monday. British Airways' loss-making German subsidiary, Deutsche BA, was sold off in July to investors in Nuremberg for a single euro. Now the unwanted airline has become DBA (00 49 1805 932 322, www.flydba.com) and has returned to haunt British Airways by launching a new route from Gatwick to the German capital. Fares start at €143 (£102) return.

CORSICA DIRECT

Britain gets a scheduled connection to Corsica next summer. GB Airways, operating on behalf of British Airways (0870 850 9850, www.ba.com), will fly from Gatwick to Bastia each Sunday from 2 May. The lowest return fare is £129, if you book during a short-term seat sale to be held this coming weekend (from 8 to 11 November). The airline will also fly from Gatwick to Ibiza from May; this weekend, you can buy for £99 return.

SWEDISH START-UP

City Airline (0870 330 8800, www.cityairline.com) this week began flying between Birmingham and Gothenburg. The link is predominantly a business route, with small aircraft that feel almost like executive jets, and this is reflected in the lowest return fare of £147.

RHINELAND REBOUND

After Ryanair was forced by a French court to abandon its route between Stansted and Strasbourg, Air France (0845 0845 111, www.airfrance.com) has re-started services from Gatwick to the Alsatian city. But the revived route is facing stiff competition from Ryanair (0871 246 0000, www.ryanair.com), which switched its flights from Stansted into nearby Baden Baden, across the border in Germany. So the French carrier has reduced fares from around £160 to £118 return. As with most "new" routes, you can expect plenty of availability.

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