The Tactical Traveler

FOR JUNE 21, 2000


This week: Alaska launches West Coast summer sale; United cuts prices on Hawaii vacations booked online; operations return to normal at Heathrow airport; ground disruptions at Newark International; Northwest changes fees for WorldClubs airport-lounge network; Starwood Preferred Guest, Hyatt Gold Passport eliminate blackout dates for hotel rewards; United and Air Canada begin issuing joint E-tickets; Australia adds Goods and Services taxes on domestic flights; and more.

COST-CUTTERS: A West Coast Summer Sale
Alaska Airlines has launched a fare sale on its West Coast network for travel through September 6. Prices start at $59 one-way for adults and $54 for children under 17 and include flights between destinations in California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. The lowest fares are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Restrictions include a nonrefundable, 14-day advance purchase and a Friday or Saturday stay. Up to two children may travel with each adult at the kid's prices. All tickets must be purchased by June 30.

BEST OF THE NET: A Seven-Day Hawaii Internet Offer
United Vacations is knocking $50 a person off the price of its Hawaii vacations for travel booked at its website from June 23 through 29. The packages must include airfare and a minimum five-night hotel stay to qualify for the discount.

AIRPORT REPORT: Delays, Disruptions and Discounts
London's main airport and the Europe's busiest facility, Heathrow, suffered a massive computer failure last weekend and is slowly crawling back to normal operations. Expect scattered delays if you're flying to or through Britain this week. Newark, the airport with the most flight delays in the nation, is now disrupted on the ground, too. The monorail connecting the parking lots and terminals is being repaired and there are sporadic reductions of service. Portions of the parking lot adjacent to Terminal C, home of Continental's Newark hub, is also closed. And the monorail will shut after Labor Day for more extensive reconstruction. Solution: use mass transit or park your car at Avistar, which operates two off-airport lots and on-demand shuttle service. Effective July 1, Northwest Airlines changes prices and memberships for its WorldClubs airport-lounge network. Initiation fees and worldwide-access fees have been slightly reduced, but the lower-cost domestic-club-only membership level has been eliminated.

FREQUENT-TRAVEL UPDATE: New Deals, New Partners, Less Restrictions
AT&T, the nation's largest long-distance company, has joined Continental OnePass. The deal allows members to earn five miles for every dollar spent on residential AT&T calls. Following the lead of Starwood Preferred Guest, Hyatt Gold Passport has eliminated blackout dates for its hotel rewards. Unlike the Starwood plan, however, Gold Passport retains capacity controls on rewards for all but its top-tier (Platinum and Diamond) members. Delta Air Lines has lowered the mileage requirement for free tickets on its new route between Boston and Los Angeles. Between July 1 and September 30, Skymiles members can travel in coach for 20,000 miles (a 5,000-mile reduction) and in business class for 30,000 miles (a 10,000-mile cut).

ON THE FLY: News You Need to Know
Southwest Airlines has chosen Buffalo, New York, as its newest destination. Flights are expected to begin later this year. Southwest added Albany, New York, to its route map earlier this year. The nascent worldwide airline alliance led by Delta and Air France has chosen "Skyteam" as its brand name. Two partners in the Star Alliance, United Airlines and Air Canada, have begin issuing joint E-tickets. This will allow travelers to fly either carrier using a single electronic ticket. Australia has altered its tax structure and new levies include a Goods and Services taxes (GST) on domestic flights and most manufactured products. The levy varies, but is around 9 percent on most purchases. The GST, as well as the WET, Australia's special levy on wine, is sometimes refundable to visitors. Consult the Australian Customs website for details.

This column originally appeared at

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