The Tactical Traveler

FOR JANUARY 12, 2000


This week: London airfares hit rock bottom at $99 one-way; where to find the best online deals from hotel consolidators; Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum set to open; new flights from Austrian Airlines, Delta and Southwest; Disney expands via new resort properties in Orlando; and more.

COST CUTTERS: Do Your British Seat Shopping Right Now
Think you missed your chance to get in on that $99 fare sale to London? Guess again. As soon as the previously announced winter sale expired on Monday, the major carriers to England--led by British Airways []--promptly extended most of their rock-bottom transatlantic fares. The last date for purchase is now January 26.

Fares from New York, Newark and Boston are still as low as $99 one way for midweek travel in January and February. Fares from other U.S. gateways now range from $104 from Philadelphia and $134 from Washington/Dulles to $179 from West Coast cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle. Prices are higher for departures in March and on weekends. There are an array of restrictions, of course, including a 7-day advance purchase. And be warned: international taxes and fees will add about $90 roundtrip to your fares.

BEST OF THE WEB: Finding Great Rates on Hotel Rooms
The best place to find great deals on hotel rooms is usually via hotel consolidators, who quietly sell excess room nights at deep discounts. Among the best of the consolidators is Quikbook (800-789-9887), which previously limited itself to deals in just seven business cities. But a quick perusal of Quikbook's website [] shows it has now expanded to 10 cities and company executives say they will add 10 more destinations by the end of the year. (Quikbook now offers as much as 60 percent off the retail price at hundreds of hotels in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC.) Travelers can surf for hotels by price, date or location, check real-time availability and obtain confirmed reservations. A "specials" page serves up the best deals for specific dates and cities. Also notable: there are no banner ads on the fast, easy-to-navigate Quikbook site.

ON THE FLY: News You Need to Know
Austrian Airlines [] is launching flights to Vienna from Chicago and Washington/Dulles on March 26, the day Austrian joins the Star Alliance []. The routes make sense because Star's U.S. airline, United [], maintains huge connecting hubs in both those cities. At the same time, Austrian will end its alliance with Delta Air Lines [] and eliminate service from Vienna to Atlanta, Delta's home airport. … Southwest Airlines [] brings its patented brand of low-fare, high-frequency service to Albany, New York beginning in May. Routes and prices have not been announced. … The pocket-sized, 144-page Airport Transit Guide covers airport-to-city transportation options for more than 440 airports worldwide. It costs $9.95 postpaid from Magellan's and is available by phone (800-962-4943) or the web [].

VACATION STATION: Big Cities, Big Doings
For those of you who don't believe there can be too much of a good thing, the mousketeers over at Disney have announced another expansion in Orlando. The company is clearing land for a new resort featuring almost 6,000 rooms. The first phase, encompassing 2,880 rooms, is scheduled to open in 2002. Disney says the properties will sell rooms for $100 or less a night. … The newest attraction in Philadelphia, the National Liberty Museum [], is due to open this week in the heart of the city's historic district. The museum is dedicated to combating violence and bigotry and honors 350 contemporary and historic figures who have achieved greatness by resisting bigotry and injustice. Admission is $5 for adults. … The glitz and glitter of Las Vegas was jolted last week when a 24-year-old visitor from Utah jumped off the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower hotel and casino. The jumper was killed when his body bounced off an observation desk and landed in a parking lot.

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