The Tactical Traveler

FOR JANUARY 19, 2000


This week: US Airways launches a “private” fare sale to Florida; Amtrak upgrades its Web site, offers weekly “Rail Sale” discounts; Hertz adds Jaguar XJ8 and S-Type vehicles to its luxury lineup; President Clinton names three unique areas in the west as National Monuments; and more.

COST CUTTERS: A 'Private' Fare Sale to Florida
One of the largest airlines serving Florida, US Airways, has launched a fare sale for travel through the Valentine's Day weekend. But unlike previous Florida sales, this one is private, available only to travelers willing to book flights through the US Airways website [].

Fares range from $118 to $238 roundtrip and include: $158 from Providence, Rhode Island, to Fort Lauderdale; $178 from Philadelphia to Orlando; $188 from Indianapolis to West Palm Beach; and $238 from Seattle to Miami. Restrictions: travel Tuesday through Friday and stay over a Saturday night on US Airways flights; travel any day of the week and stay one night for itineraries on MetroJet, the airline's low-fare division; a seven-day advance purchase is required; tickets must be purchased by February 2; and travel must be complete by February 17. All travelers receive a 1,000-mile bonus in Dividend Miles, the US Airways frequent-flyer program; first-time website bookers receive an additional bonus of 4,000 miles.

BEST OF THE WEB: Amtrak Gets Its Website On Track
The only thing drearier than the state of the nation's passenger railroad system is the Amtrak website []. Slow to load and cluttered with useless graphics, the Amtrak site is also burdened with a bizarre route-planning system that can't differentiate between 4-hour direct trains and 25-hour itineraries routed via distant cities. But there are signs of intelligent life, most notably a new Internet "Rail Sale" program. Each Monday, the Rail Sale offers web-only discounts on a variety of trains for at least a upcoming week. Among the recent postings: Washington-Chicago for $56.50 each way; Kansas City-St. Louis for $20 one way; and Charlotte-Raleigh for $12 one way. (Rail Sale fares are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged).

ON THE FLY: News You Need to Know
AirTran Airways [] (800-AIRTRAN) will launch daily nonstops from Philadelphia to both Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale on March 1. … Hertz [] (800-654-3131) has added the Jaguar XJ8 and S-Type vehicles to its "premium-luxury" class of rental cars. The Jaguars are now available in nine cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix and San Francisco. … The booming economy in Dublin, Ireland, has strained the city's supply of 2,600 licensed taxicabs, so the Irish government has announced plans to put another 3,100 cabs on the streets. … British Midland [] (800-788-0555) is offering a sale on business-class seats on its intra-Britain and European routes from London. The one-way fares don't even require an advance purchase. Sample prices: $159 to Glasgow and Edinburgh; $259 to Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels; and $359 to Prague and Warsaw. Fares are valid until March 31.

VACATION STATION: New National Monuments and Resort Destinations
The marketing and hotel company that owns the Grand Ole Opry [] in Nashville has announced plans to build a $560 million resort outside the District of Columbia. The first phase, a 40-acre, 2,000-room project called theOpryland Hotel Potomac, will be located in Fort Washington, Maryland, on the eastern shore of the Potomac River. … President Clinton has declared three environmentally unique areas in the west as National Monuments. Grand Canyon-Parashant is a 1,500-square-mile desert dotted with junipers; Agua Fria, north of Phoenix, is a 71,000-acre area encompassing two mesas that are filled with Indian ruins and petroglyphs. The third Monument is a collection of hundreds of rocks and small islands along the California Coast. … Continental Airlines [] (800-523-3273) will begin daily nonstop service in June between New York/Newark and Puerto Plata, the resort community on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.

This column originally appeared at

Copyright © 1999-2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.