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May 29, 1999

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Cheap Flight to Europe

What if you could fly to Europe tomorrow for less than $300? Round trip. I've found a little airline that will fly you there and back with no advance-purchase requirement. It's Luxair. Since Icelandiar stopped linking Luxembourg to North America earlier this year, Luxair has stepped up to show the flag for the tiny grand duchy.

The airline has just begun flying out of Newark, and it's offering a roundtrip fare of only $298 to many cities in Europe until the end of June. A friend of mine took Luxair to Italy just this week and reported the flight was great, not crowded, and the cocktails free even in coach. You have to reserve by June 15th and return by the end of June. But the problem is, I hear it's filling up fast, so you better call right now.

You'll change planes in Luxembourg, but for $298 during the high season, that doesn't seem too much to ask. You can get details from a travel agent or by calling 888-4-L-U-X-A-I-R.

A last minute jaunt to Europe -- that's my Deal of the Week.

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National Airlines Rises Again
Well here it is, Memorial Day weekend, start of the summer travel season. All the new summer movies used to have their openings this weekend . . . So, how 'bout a new Airplane? No, not the movie, I mean the new National Airlines, cleared for take-off this week. Recognize the name? In 1958, National flew the first 707 from New York to Miami. The new one flies daily from Las Vegas to Chicago-Midway and Los Angeles, with service to New York and San Francisco planned by the end of June. Whatever happened to the old National, you ask? They merged with Pan Am, which eventually went bankrupt.

Life imitating Lifeboats
Speaking of movies, this from our Life imitating lifeboats department. Last week we reported the sinking of a Singapore cruise ship, with all onboard rescued. Well now the Captain says his crew was motivated by the movie Titanic. That helped them get everyone out efficiently. So when a fire broke out due to a short circuit in the engine room, the ship sunk, but the lifeboat scenes played out to perfection. A thousand ninety-three people saved. Including all the extras.

Hurricane Season
This week marks the beginning of Hurricane Season. Last year Mitch ripped through Honduras and Nicaragua, killing 11,000 people, with its six feet of rainwater practically washing out the economies of those two countries. This summer our Meteorologist Paul Douglas, says to be ready for hurricaines at home.

"During a typical year we get about two on the U.S. Mainland. That's an average. But this year, many as three or four, based on this cooling of the water of the Pacific known as La Nina."

A Budding Savvy Traveler
Speaking of La Nina, she was actually good news for 13-year-old David Biehl from Saluda, South Carolina. David won The National Geographic Bee in Washington DC this week when he correctly answered "La Nina" in response to the question, "Name the condition characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial regions of the Eastern Pacific" David got a $25,000 college scholarship and a trip to Australia. Now there's a Savvy Traveler.

With other news you should know before traveling, here's Sarah Gardner with this week's Travel Advisory.

Travel Advisory
by Sarah Gardner

Americans in China
Things are still a little shaky for Americans in China. The Chinese government issued more anti-U.S. propaganda through the official media this week. Analysts speculate that, aside from the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the action comes in response to recent allegations of Chinese nuclear espionage in the U.S.

Last Supper Restored
After twenty-two years you can finally get a good look at Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. The restoration of the fresco took 20 years longer than da Vinci spent painting it. Meanwhile it's going to be harder to get a good view of the Parthenon. Eight columns will be taken down and should take about three years to restore.

Strike in Spain?
An estimated 300,000 tourists could find a messy situation in Spain this weekend. Bus drivers at Palma de Mallorca International Airport say they just might go on strike for better pay, improved working hours and overtime wages.

New Airport in Texas
And deep in the heart of Texas, this nation has a new airport. Austin-Bergstrom International opened this week -- the first major port in the U.S. since Denver International opened in 1995. As to be expected there are still a few bugs to work out and one airport spokesperson says, "just pack a little patience" for the first few weeks. Austin-Bergstrom is the former site of a military base. President Lyndon Johnson used to land Air Force One there, on what is now Southwest Airlines' runway number one.


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