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January 1, 2000

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Two for One on Swissair or Sabena

Could this be the winter the two of you go abroad together? Which two of you? Any two of you! Swissair and the Belgian airline Sabena are both offering two-for-one deals on coach seats overseas. The deals are a little different, and, of course, each one comes with its obligatory set of fine-print rules, but here are the basics.

For the month of February, Sabena and Swissair will fly you and a friend from nine U.S. cities to Zurich, Geneva, Basel or Brussels. It's billed as a Valentine's sale, though you can fly anytime that month.

But what if you don't want to fly in February? What if you want to fly this month? Or in March? What if you want to fly somewhere -- anywhere -- else in the world? Then you want a different Swissair deal -- one they've cut with MasterCard. Again, fly from one of nine U.S. cities, but this time you can go to any Swissair destination worldwide. Book two weeks in advance, stay at least a week, pay with a MasterCard, and two fly as cheaply as one.

Visit Swissair's web site for additional info.

For info on January through March anywhere-in-the-world offer, call 800-221-4750 and refer to code G*KNXYX8.

Contact Sabena Airlines at: 800-955-2000

Now, do some comparison shopping to make sure this deal is cheaper than buying two tickets separately. If it is, grab someone and see the world.

Two for the road via Swissair or Sabena -- that's my Deal of the Week!

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New York Travel Update: Snafu
by Marty Goldensohn

I'm standing smack in the middle of the southbound fast lane of the New Jersey Turnpike. On a normal morning I'd be road kill by now. But today, not a vehicle in sight, except my Schwinn three-speed leaning on its kickstand. The head of congestion for the turnpike, Bill Guardrail, pedaled by earlier.

Guardrail: "This is as light as you're going to see it."

Goldensohn: "Light's an understatement. How do you account for it?"

Guardrail: "Well, none of your vehicles made after 1980 started up this morning. The spark plugs thought it was 1900 or something. Anyway that's 90 percent of your traffic gone right there. Everybody else I figure is still asleep or afraid."

Afraid of scenes like this one, at Newark Airport. Hundreds of would-be passengers staring in disbelief at the departure board, which looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland. Two hundred and fifty flights all scheduled to take off at the same time, except Transam flight 312; it's scheduled to take off before it lands.

According to the departures board, Wayne Tarmac is already in Cleveland. But he strongly disagrees.

Tarmac: "I'm in Jersey. It's not my brain that's haywire. I told my daughter in Shaker Heights I shouldn't fly today. But she said it was all a bunch of hype."

Apparently not. In fact, 100 passengers are holding tickets for a flight that is taxiing behind the Wright Brothers. All this has people here unnerved. When they finally figure out what plane to get on, most choose not to. Former passenger Joe Fuselage:

Fuselage: "I figure the departure board's sort like the canary in the coal mine. If that's completely blewy, what's the pilot looking at?"

A few flights have lifted off with a sprinkling of brave passengers. As one baggage handler pointed out:

Baggage Handler: "They can always buy fresh underwear wherever they're going."

At Pier 60 on Manhattan's west side, relatives of the 900 passengers stranded aboard the Circus Cruise Liner's Satiation, keep a vigil. According to Circus spokesman Daniel Starboard, the vessel's rudder is frozen hard to port from a computer glitch and the Satiation is plying endless circles off Barbados, not expected to run out of fuel for at least 30 days.

Starboard: "We were completely prepared for this eventuality. Nine thousand drink umbrellas, extra limbo sticks, a bottomless ATM in the casino. You name it, it's on board. What's the problem?"

Margaret Hull's 88 year old mother is also aboard the satiation.

Hull: "Mom, she'll be okay if the ice machine holds out. Without a banana daiquiri, Mom...uh, let's just say she gets a little bit cranky."

That's it...the Y2K travel update in the New York region. If voyagers elsewhere are facing millennial problems, we certainly wouldn't know about it here...at least not until the phones come back on.

Anyway, looks like everyone's taking the inconveniences in stride. As they say in the Army, snafu: Situation Normal, All Fouled Up. Except they don't say fouled.

Reminding you to choose laughter over panic whenever you hear a suspicious news story, I'm Marty Goldensohn for The Y2K Savvy Traveler.

Just in case your New Year's celebration was a little too much fun, and you're now having trouble telling truth from fiction, here's a hint: the preceeding report did not happen. It is only intended as satire.


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