Been delaying European vacation plans in hopes of seeing substantial airfare sales? CoGo's crystal ball is still fuzzy, but indications are that sales of the past two summers may not materialize this year.
High fuel prices and demand from both sides of the Atlantic will likely keep planes full and fares high. Amy Ziff, of Travelocity.com, said "It's still early. If people stop buying, maybe we'll see some bigger sales."
A few tips:
-- Grab any sale fare you see the moment you see it.
-- London is usually the cheapest city to get to, but on the ground, the pound is even stronger than the euro against the dollar. Sometimes you can save by flying into London and flying a discount European carrier to another country.
-- Check out packages. Offpeaktraveler.com, for example, is offering a six- night summer trip to London and Paris for about $970 per person double.
-- Check lesser-known airlines, such as Aer Lingus and Icelandair.
-- Consider postponing until fall, when fares drop as much as 50 percent.
-- United has launched a one-year promotion for customers arriving and departing from the Washington area's three airports. Each qualifying leg of a journey (tickets must cost more than $100) earns a point. Four points (two round trips between now and April 30, 2005) gets you a free regional domestic ticket. It builds from there -- from four round trips for a continental U.S. ticket to 12 for a round-the-world ticket. Register at www.united.com or by calling 800-447-6772, Code 310.
-- On Tuesday, US Airways joins the Star Alliance, which makes it a partner with 13 foreign carriers, including Air Canada, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. United had been the airline's only partner, meaning you can use miles earned on one of the airlines for free tickets on the other.
Cruise news: Hawaii launch
The first inter-island Hawaii cruises that don't make huge detours to a foreign port will launch July 4 in a newly refurbished ship with an all-American crew.
The Norwegian Star is undergoing a Hawaii-themed makeover and will emerge as the Pride of Aloha. From Honolulu, it will launch seven-day cruises to Kauai, the Big Island and Maui.
The Pride of Aloha will also carry the distinction of being the only U.S.-flagged ocean-going cruise ship in the world. It has to be to do its new job: U.S. laws require that ships traveling only among U.S. ports must be U.S.-flagged and carry American crews.
Details: 800-327-7030, www.ncl.com.
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