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Something To Declare: Manchester to the US in the New Year

The column that gives the global picture

Bargain of the week: Manchester to the US in the New Year

Take advantage of the puny dollar with BMI's aggressive cost-cutting on its flights from Manchester to Washington and Chicago. For travel from 8 January until the end of March, the airline (0870 60 70 555; www.flybmi.com) has a fare of £198 return to Washington, with Chicago priced at £298. If you connect at Washington with a United Airlines flight to many other North American destinations, the fare will be the same as, or lower than, the price to Chicago. You can reach Miami for £258 return and Las Vegas or New Orleans for £298.

A weekend surcharge of £10 each way applies for travel on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

These deals bought direct from the airline are better than those being sold through discount agents such as Trailfinders (020-7937 5400; www.trailfinders.com). Yet to other destinations, cutting in the middleman will save you cash as the agency has the edge: Manchester via Washington to Denver or Phoenix for £289 return, or to Los Angeles for £295.

To get these fares you must book by 15 December, and travel at any time in the first three months of next year.

Whether you book direct or via an agency, you must stay away at least one Saturday night, but no longer than a month.

Simon Calder