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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Arthur Frommer: Use Twitter to find ticket-price bargains


On several recent Tuesdays, JetBlue Airlines has published news of one-day sales over various routes that it flies in the U.S. Going in the morning to, on a Tuesday, you would find announcements of tickets for $19 on some of the airline's shorter itineraries. Later in the day, there would also be a flash announcement — valid for only a couple of hours — of transcontinental flights available for more than $19 but for far less than $99. The practice is not limited to JetBlue, and it's worth following the activities of other airlines on Twitter. Simply type and then place the name of the airline (as a single word) following the slash line.

Cosmopolitan defies taboo

In a recent discussion of the just-opened Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, I failed to note that by attaching balconies to each of its 3,000 rooms, the new property was challenging a taboo that has long caused hotel architects to avoid such facilities in Sin City: The belief that balconies will encourage suicides. That pervasive fear caused the Luxor Hotel, some years ago, to wall off its open corridors that might otherwise enable despondent gamblers to hurl themselves to their doom upon the casino floor below. People who have just lost their life's savings at the gaming tables will now be able to make use of the Cosmopolitan's balconies.

11-day cruise a good deal

Probably the best trans-Atlantic deal for the spring is the $1,199 per person price offered by Travel Themes and Dreams (877-870-7447; for an 11-day cruise on the Norwegian Epic from Miami to Barcelona, departing on May 7, 2011 (in an inside cabin; balcony cabins cost $200 more). The package includes not simply the cruise but later one-way air transportation from Barcelona back to Miami or New York (JFK), an overnight hotel stay in Barcelona at a four-star hotel on May 18, transfers from port to hotel and from hotel to airport in Barcelona, and earlier one-way air transportation (for those who need it) from New York to Miami to board the cruise.

Check out cruise websites

I get a great many inquiries about the existence of deals offered by the smaller, luxury cruise ships — those of Regent Seven Seas, Seabourne, Silverseas, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, and the like. And I simply respond by directing readers to their websites. There you will presently find more anxious discounts, additional perks, two-for-one pricing, free airfares, special onboard spending credits, free shore excursions, and other more frantic lures than would ever be offered by the most tired tub, the rustiest, most antiquated vessel of any mainstream line.

Luggage tags support ECPAT

I can think of few better charitable causes than eradication of the exploitation of children in travel — namely, an end to the operation of sex tourism featuring children. An organization that leads in that effort is ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), and one of their sources of funding is the sale of large, colorful, cloth luggage tags made by village women in Thailand. If you'll go to ECPAT's website for TassaTags ( you'll learn more about them. (I have several of them, which makes it easy to spot my particular suitcase when it emerges on the luggage belt.) Each luggage tag costs $12 apiece, plus $2.50 for shipping up to five tags.

Irish tour a blend of services

Just when it seemed that tour operator Sceptre Tours had created an unbeatable winter-season package to Dublin ($499, including airfare, and a four-night hotel stay), the very same tour company has now topped its winter program with Ireland Spring Vacations (valid for travel from March 12 to April 30) costing $699 for not simply round-trip airfare (between New York and Dublin; $20 more from Boston; $100 more from Chicago) but a remarkable assortment of accommodations and transportation: two nights at top hotels in Ireland, four nights at farmhouse bed-and-breakfasts and a weeklong car rental with unlimited mileage.

Arthur Frommer is the pioneering founder of the Frommer's Travel Guide book series. He co-hosts the radio program "The Travel Show" with his travel correspondent daughter Pauline Frommer. Find more destinations online and read Arthur Frommer's blog at

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