The Tactical Traveler

FOR MARCH 1, 2000


This week: Hertz’ Freedom Rates include daily and weekly rental discounts; USAirways and flight attendants reach an impasse in contract negotiations; room-starved New York City gets two new hotels; New Orleans warns visitors to keep their clothes on; it’s almost time for Washington, DC’s Annual Cherry Blossom Festival; and more.

COST-CUTTERS: 45 Days to Drive Away These Discounts
The nation's largest car-rental firm, Hertz [] (800-654-3131), is offering special "Freedom Rates" [] through April 15. Compact cars are $29.99 a day at participating airport locations nationwide. Weekly rates are also available in Florida ($139) and California ($169). There's also a special price of $209 for weekly rentals of a sport-utility vehicle at airport locations. To get the Freedom rates, you must request a special code ("FRDM"). Cars may be picked up on any day, but must be kept over a Saturday night. A host of taxes and airport surcharges are not included in the price and vary by rental location.

ON THE FLY: News You Need to Know
USAirways and its flight attendants have reached an impasse in contract negotiations. The flight attendants will be legally free to strike when a federally mandated "cooling off" period ends on March 25. The airline claims it will shut down if a deal is not reached by the deadline. Flight attendants have set up a website [] to present their side of the story; the airline posts its comments on the USAirways home page []. … Continental Airlines [] says it will "temporarily suspend" flights between Honolulu and Tokyo effective April 3. … Emirates [] will launch flights between Milan and Dubai on April 1. … Room-starved New York has two more hotels. The 73-room Hotel Giraffe [] (877-296-0009) is located on Park Avenue and 26th Street; nightly rates start at $325. The 144-room Regent Wall Street [] has opened in the historic building at 55 Wall Street. Introductory rates are $425 a night through March 31.

VACATION STATION: Bulbs, Blossoms and the Naked Truth
The world-famous and much-photographed Kuekenhof Gardens [] will open this spring from March 23 to May 21. The 80-acre site, located about an hour from Amsterdam, is home to millions of tulips, narcissi, hyacinths and other bulb flowers. … Elsewhere in the flower world, horticulturists at the National Park Service [] are predicting the fragrant cherry blossoms in the nation's capital will bloom during the first week of April. Peak viewing time is estimated to be April 4, toward the end of the 39th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival (202-547-1500) in Washington. This year's festival, which offers a series of botanical and musical events, is scheduled for March 26 through April 5. … Mardi Gras [] kicked off last weekend in New Orleans and police are warning visitors to keep their clothes on. More than 350 visitors were arrested for getting naked last year.

BEST OF THE WEB: Surf Your Way to Skiing Discounts
The latest Internet-only fare sale comes from United Airlines, which is promoting discounts up to 30 percent on flights to 11 U.S. ski destinations. The surf-and-ski promotion [,10017,1771,00.html] is valid for travel through April 2, but tickets must be purchased by March 18. Trips require a 14-day advance purchase and a Saturday-night stay; travel is valid Mondays through Thursdays. Sample prices: $408 roundtrip between Washington, D.C. and Hayden/Steamboat Springs; $325 between Los Angeles and Jackson Hole; and $377 between Chicago and Telluride. The sale prices are available only at the United website []. Click "Create Itinerary" on the home page; discounted fares are marked with a star.

This column originally appeared at

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