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Travelers' Aid

Tumult in the World of Travel
May 27, 2000

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There was a lot of travel news this week, so we've got a lot of things to sort out in this week's Traveler's Aid. Of course, the big news is the planned merger of United Airlines, the world's largest carrier, with U.S. Airways. And while federal approval of this $4.3 billion mega-deal is still a ways off, the big question now is what this will mean for travelers.

Well, the first thing you should know is your U.S. Airways frequent flyer miles are safe. United says they'll roll them over into a new United account, mile for mile. Now, there may be some flight drain from U.S. Airways hubs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Charlotte, but since United serves so many more cities nationwide, in the end, it'll probably be easier to get around the country.

Now, the really big question is what's going to happen with fares. When they announced the deal, United also promised not to raise fares for two years, the only caveat being if fuel or labor costs increase dramatically. Other than that, the two airlines really didn't compete with each other all that much, which means fares might just stay status quo.

The other big travel news this past week was, well, all the trouble in paradise. A coup, for crying out loud, on the island of Fiji! Now, by end of the week, things had pretty much cooled down in the capital of Suva, but I gave a call to the Club Fiji Resort, where I spoke to Godfry, one of the local managers. I wanted to find out if the tourists there were at all concerned.

I also wanted to know what to do if you find yourself in this sort of situation while on holiday. To get some answers, I turned to our resident counter-terrorism expert, Neil Livingstone. Neil runs a company called Global Options out of Washington, D.C. and he said the best thing to do to avoid political and social upheavals while traveling is to simply stay informed. Listen to what these folks have to say.

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