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July 3, 1999

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Week-long United Frenzy

United is hosting what it calls a week-long frenzy. Which means it's not too late to book a good vacation package to Europe, Hong Kong, or major cities in North America, Until next Saturday, United is offering deals like this: Two of you can fly between Washington, D.C., and London, and stay at the Royal Westminster Hotel for six nights for just over $2,000. That's with an August one departure, smack in the middle of prime summer travel time. I called United just to see how much airfare would cost by itself. The answer: About fifteen hundred dollars for two people. So with this package, you get six nights in a good, downtown London hotel for only $500 more. Now that's a deal.

The airline is promising $150 off per couple for trips to London and Paris, $100 per couple for travel to Hong Kong, and $50 off on 11 destinations in North America. Now, I don't know that $50 off on a trip for two to, say, San Francisco qualifies as a "frenzy," but, hey, 50 bucks is 50 bucks. Here's the fine print: You have until next Saturday, July 10th, to buy, but you can book travel up until the end of the year. Buy on line and you get 1,000 bonus miles. Check out destinations, hotels, and prices by going to unitedvacations.com.

A week-long United frenzy--that's my Deal of the Week.

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AAA's Tipsy Tow to the Rescue
If you're on the road this 4th of July weekend, you're not alone. Thirty-seven million Americans are traveling, making this the second busiest Independence Day weekend ever. To keep all you drivers safe, AAA again will offer its "Tipsy Tow" program. If you've had too much to drink in Southern California, Texas and New Mexico, you can call the Auto Club to request a free tow home Saturday evening through midnight Sunday. And you don't even have to be an AAA member.

Y2K Testing Excuse Exposed
Watch what you say when FAA Administrator Jane Garvey's on your flight. That's the lesson U.S. Airways employees learned recently when they told Garvey and other passengers that Y2K testing was holding up their plane. Garvey called the air traffic control center to check the story, and discovered it was a fabrication, reports CNN. Apparently, gate agents for several airlines have been using the millennium bug as an excuse for delays, but the FAA says, "Don't buy it." In fact, the industry's millennium team announced Thursday that U.S. and Canadian airlines are 95% finished with Y2K upgrades, and said the airlines are in great shape. They'd better be -- they've spent three-quarters of a billion dollars to fix their Y2K problems.

Turbulence in Turkey
Kurdish rebels have launched fatal attacks in coffeehouses and against police officers in Turkey, protesting the death sentence on Abdullah Ocalan. The State Department had closed its consulates in Istanbul and Adana, Turkey, earlier in the week when rebels launched attacks in Stuttgart and Tuttlingen, Germany in the days after the verdict.

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Strikes Again?
If you've flown into Chicago's O'Hare Airport, you may have seen that neon-filled corridor connecting two United concourses in Terminal One. A fire broke out in that corridor in the wee hours of Monday morning, forcing United to evacuate passengers and delay nearly one hundred flights. No one was injured, and the terminal re-opened around 6:30 a.m.

Beaver "Witness Protection Program"
Remember those three beavers who this past April gave the father of our country a little competition in the cherry tree chopping department, felling Washington's famous trees when the blossoms were at their peak? Trappers captured the critters and hauled them off to a new location. Now it seems lots of visitors want to know where they are -- even want to visit them. The National Park Service, though, says it won't say where their new home is because the busy little beavers need their privacy.

Travel Advisory
by Cheryl Glaser

Alaska Cruise Ship Flu Outbreak
The Centers for Disease Control warns travelers of a flu outbreak in Alaska for the second summer in a row. More than 400 cases have been reported so far this year among passengers cruising the Alaskan coast. The flu spreads easily on ships thanks to the close quarters, and some cruise lines have required employees to get flu shots. Anyone over 65 or with a chronic heart or respiratory ailment should consult a doctor before heading north.

More Rockslides at Yosemite
Down in the lower 48, they're predicting another rockslide at Yosemite National Park. After the first slide June 13, the park started closing its popular Curry Village guest cabins. A total of 200 are now closed. If you hold a reservation, the park will rebook you in other lodging at the same price, or give a discount on a future visit.

Olympic Airways Grapples with Employees
Employees of Olympic Airways in Greece are threatening to strike again next week if management doesn't ease their fears of losing their jobs. A strike last Thursday grounded more than half of the airline's flights, leaving passengers stranded across Greece.


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