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September 18, 1999

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Fan Fare on Delta

Delta Airlines has something new for fans of sports and culture: last-minute fares available on the Internet that are tailored for football and baseball games, major concerts, and other special events.

They're called Fan Fares, and you find them by going on line at delta-air.com. You can register to have Fan Fares e-mailed to you so that every Sunday, you receive deals for the following weekend. Last weekend was timed for the start of the NFL season. How were the prices? Minneapolis-Atlanta, round trip: $138. (The Vikings were playing the Falcons.) Dallas, Washington, D.C., thanks to the Redskins-Cowboys game: $158 round-trip. Baseball fans can cash in, too. Since the Mets were taking on the Dodgers, there was a New York-Los Angeles round-trip of $198.

This is a clever twist on the last-minute, weekend fares airlines have been offering on line for a couple of years now. Except those are usually posted Wednesday. Fan Fares give you an few extra days to plan.

Big events mean big discounts on delta-air.com. That's my Deal of the Week.

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Floyd Toys with East Coast
The wind, rain and floods of Hurricane Floyd forced thousands of tourists and residents to abandon the East Coast this week. Airports from Miami to Boston closed down, and over half a million people fled from South Carolina alone. Floyd will be felt for weeks; roads and bridges are badly damaged; floods have wreacked havoc at destinations up and down the Atlantic shore. Damage estimates are still coming in.

When the hurricane was still barreling down on the Carolinas, I spoke with Savvy listener Jack Riley. He lives in Emerald Isle, on the coast of North Carolina, and he told me he was getting to higher ground just as fast as he could.

Riley: "With a category four hurricane which is what this was a little while ago, we decided the best thing to do was to get out of its path. We've unfortunately became rather expert at it because this is the fourth hurricane that's hit eastern North Carolina since 1996. Oh, I'm sorry, it's the fifth hurricane. I lost count."

Even though Floyd's over, you should still call ahead if you're planning to travel on the East Coast. Check on your hotels, your flight schedule, even your rental car reservations.

For more info on hurricanes and travel:

Airlines Try Harder to Please
Well, bad weather always causes big travel problems. Remember that blizzard last New Year's? That storm left hundreds of travelers stuck on planes, thousands sleeping in airports. Even the politicians in Washington got all set to go after the airlines with the Passenger Bill of Rights. To head off new laws, the airline industry instead made a promise to try harder for travelers.

This week, the airlines delivered: most of them unveiled new policies to win back travelers' trust. Delta, for example, will call you in advance if your departure is held up more than two hours. United promises to have more computers on hand to help delayed passengers re-book. Those changes will happen by December 15th.

But airline critics still aren't satisfied, perhaps because there's no penalty if the airlines don't follow through. And one report out of Congress this week said a lot of the promises are things already required by law. Hours after the airlines' announcements, the U.S. Senate was once again looking for more enforceable measures.

Tina Turner Goes to the Birds
Airports have long labored to keep birds out of airplanes' paths. See, sometimes the little guys get in the way of the big guys, and when a bird gets sucked into a jet engine, the results can be disastrous -- for all parties involved.

Well one airport in England is succeeding where others have failed. The airport in Gloucestershire tried everything to keep the birds away -- even loudspeakers blasting bird distress sounds. But, it wasn't until they pulled out their old 70s records that they finally found a solution. Who frightens birds the best? None other than Tina Turner.

Travel Advisory
by Cheryl Glaser

Travel Troubles Around the Globe
It was a tough week in Europe too. A Thursday airport strike in Amsterdam delayed flights all over the continent. A train strike in Belgium left thousands stranded there. And in Russia, terrorist attacks around Moscow prompted increased security everywhere. Authorities set roadblocks for traffic leaving Russia's capital -- and extra baggage and document checks at airports means delays for air travelers too.

Y2K Update: Rate the Nations
And it's Y2K again: this week the State Department rated the nations. In Taiwan, all ATM machines may shut down December 31st. And in Russia power, heat, telecommunications and travel disruptions are "likely to occur."


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