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May, 2004 - Nr. 5


The Editor
Meiner Mutter
Vorsicht Satire!
Rachel Seilern
Zurich Connection
A World of Contrast
Dear Mom
KW & Beyond
The Ritchie Boys
Hansa Club's 40th
Anniversary Celebration
Unter dem Motto
Concordia Choir Concert
A lose-lose Ending?
At the CKWR Studio
Toronto has the Sound
Youth Culture
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Health Newsletter
German Heavyweights
Tafelmusik in Parry Sound
Harbourfront Centre Events
Nature's Perfect Gems
Support for Shaw Festival
MoMA in Berlin
Brothers Grimm Movie
Lessons from Dresden
Frauenkirche nears Completion
Lufthansa News
"Radio Goethe"
Rudolf Stussi Exhibition
Biography - A Game
Snow Sport Show
Schumi Continues Sweep
Germany against Canada
Travel 'Smart'
Building Bridges
Most Contented Germans
Population Dwindling

Traveling ‘Smart’

  Cutting out the ‘middleman’ seems like a good idea. Right? But is it really?

Travel agencies have been loosing quite a bit of business to the Internet. Computer- literate travelers have tried to cut out the travel agencies – the middleman – by booking their trips over the Internet via "expedia" and many others. They also booked hotels at their destination, at full prices, as advertised on the hotel’s website. Did they save money?

When you book a flight with an airline all you get is the official rate – no discounts!

It is also almost impossible to ascertain price differences among the various airlines only from their websites. Most of the published prices for accommodations are also everything but impressive – with some exceptions.

What the Internet traveler doesn’t realize is the fact that much vitally important information, such as savings and special offers are rarely ever published on the Internet – that is the job of the travel agent. (See ‘Consolidator’ fares, etc.)

These fares are offered nowhere on the net. Even "Air Transat", the Canadian Charter Airline, only publishes information with regular prices on the net, while many competent travel agencies can offer many discounts and ‘specials’ – including rail travel and car rental fees. Unfortunately most of these perks – for the traveler – are not commissioned to the travel agent. They do it as a favor to the client and as part of the convenience-package they can provide. This applies to air travel as well.

However, if anything goes wrong, TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) will help to straighten things out for you. They maintain a financial system of guarantees covering Ontario Travel Agencies that are TICO members, and reimburse if an airline, cruise line or travel business cannot deliver. This represents assurance for you that a website cannot guarantee!

If you are looking for a way to travel in real comfort on a commercial airline, Lufthansa’s new seats in the business class will guarantee incredible comfort. This new ergonomic seating system was demonstrated at a recent reception at the AGO in Toronto. The new seats feature a fully adjustable and computer-controlled full-size bed (2 meters), storage space for a laptop, tablet and remote controls for a large palette of in-flight entertainment on 10 inch monitors and earphones, 25% more space between seats - that can also give you a massage, if required. You can read more about it on our website www.echoworld.com if you are interested.

However it is not impossible to save some money by booking on the net, but it often takes more time and experience than the non-commercial traveler wants to expend.

So, if travel is in your future, and if you are not already a steady customer in one of our many competent travel agencies in Ontario, forget the computer in your home and depend on the computer at your travel agent instead. They look back on many years of experience in the field. They are the people that can help you to travel "smart".

Have a safe trip! r.k.a.


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