www.uk-2-usa.com Newsletter 1-2004

January 2004

Welcome to the first
www.uk-2-usa.com newsletter of 2004.

This newsletter will update you with any recent USA travel information I have come across and uk-2-usa.com web site changes that have occurred recently. All feedback is gratefully received about style or content. Click here to send me suggestions for improvements, additions or even things to avoid in future newsletters. This newsletter will be available via e-mail, on the web site or via the associated online uk-2-usa travel discussion group


Contents





USA travel news and tips

Passeports and visas
The newspapers and TV have been full of horror stories over the last week which would make you think that if you wished to go to America this year, you will have to go to London and pay for a visa and get finger printed and photographed when you arrive in the USA. The reporting of this story has often been very irresponsible and misleading. Here are the facts.

After the dreadful events of September 11th, the USA introduced new rules to increase security around visitors to America. One requirement was that in visa waiver countries (countries from which you do not need a visa to enter the States like the UK) you would need a machine readable passeport to enter the USA after 26th October 2004. The UK has been issuing machine readable passeports for the last 10 years and so most UK passeport holders will not be affected by this. You may have a problem if your UK passeport was issued to you from outside the UK ie at an embassy or consulate. These are not machine readable. In such cases get your passeport renewed before October. You will also have a problem if your child(ren) are on your passeport. Children will be required to have their own machine readable passeport to enter the USA from October this year, so apply now if you need to.

The above is old news. Two stories broke recently that have caused much misundertanding because of the way they have been reported.

Firstly from 5th January 2004, visitors to the USA travelling on a visa have to have their fingerprints and photographs taken. This will not effect the vast majority of visitors from the UK as they travel under the visa waiver programme (see above). The only UK visitors affected are those requiring a visa e.g. press, business investors, inter-company transfers and students.

The second thing to hit the news was that from 26th October all newly issued passeports will have to contain biometric data (i.e. electronic fingerprint and facial data) for the traveller to travel under the visa waiver programme. The UK will not be able to issue these passeports until at the earliest the summer of 2005. If you do not travel under the visa wiaver programme you will need to get a visa and you will be fingerprinted and photographed when you enter the states (as explained above). This will only affect you if you have your passeport renewed after October 25th 2004 and before the UK can issue biometric passeports. If you are unlucky enough to have a passeport that expires within this timeframe, say October this year until the end of 2005, you can completely dodge the problem by getting it renewed early before October 25th 2004.

More information can be found at
US Dept Home Security .

United Airlines
Through last year I reported in this newsletter how United Airlines were struggling to stay alive. Things are on the mend and they are now due to come out of bankrupcy as planned on 30th June this year. For more info read this Miami Herald article.

Flight safety at all time high
Are you frightened of flying with all the talk of security and highjackers ? Its a surprise against the backdrop of such fears that 2003 was the safest year ever in terms of the number of airline crashes.

Only 25 commercial airliners crashed in fatal accidents in 2003, by far the lowest number in modern aviation history, according to the Aviation Safety Network, a Netherlands-based independent organization that tracks plane crashes.

The 2003 performance was 26 percent lower than the record for fatal airline crashes: 34 in 2001, said Harro Ranter, the network's president. Between 1973 and 2002, the world averaged 50 fatal airliner accidents. Read the rest of this Seattle Times article here.

Fear of flying
Following on from the above article, many people are fearful of flying. This fear can be a barrier to taking a holiday in the USA as a flight to the east coast is 6-7 hours and to the west its 11-12 hours. Such a long time can be very daunting. If you have this fear or somebody you know has it, point them towards this excellent article on the subject.

Coping with cancelled flight tips
A few careful precautions can much reduce the trauma of a cancelled flight.

Pack prescription drugs (or any over the counter medicine you regularly need) in your carry on.
Also include a toothbrush and a few hygiene supplies --- you'll be glad they're in your carry on even if your flight takes off on time.
Make a moisturiser a must in your carry on if you have dry skin. Airline air can dry out your skin and make you uncomfortable.
When you are leaving a holiday destination, don't rush to exchange your currency. If a flight is delayed you maybe thankful for a few extra pounds.
In the event of a flight cancellation, check with your airline for assistance in finding a hotel room. You'll probably have to pay for the room yourself. Have contact details of your destination at hand to make arrangements if you've got a reserved room waiting elsewhere.
You'll need some bottled water and snacks in your carry on, especially if you are traveling with children..

Click here to return to the top of the page.



Destination ideas

Lewis & Clark Bicentennial
In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson won approval from Congress for a visionary project that was to become one of American history's greatest adventure stories. Jefferson wanted to know if Americans could journey overland to the Pacific Ocean following two rivers, the Missouri and the Columbia, which flow east and west, respectively, from the Rocky Mountains. If the sources of the rivers were nearby, Jefferson reasoned that American traders would have a superior transportation route to help them compete with British fur companies pressing southward from Canada. The Lewis & Clark expedition set off in May 1804 for over two years of exploration that opened up the interior of the USA.

Its 200 years since that historic journey and the states along the route are all commemorating the bicentennial. Over the next three years there will be more attractions and events than usual along the historic route. A fly drive to this part of America would expose you to glorious uncrowded parts of the states and a slice of history. Check out these websites for more info.
The
official Government site
The Montana state site
The Washington state site
The Oregon state site

Blues Festival
The Chicago Blues Festival 2004 takes place in Grant Park from May 29th until June first. It's the largest free blues festival on the planet. May 9th through May 12th are the dates for Art Chicago in 2004. Art Chicago fills 165,000 square feet of exhibition space in the Navy Pier's Festival Hall in Chicago.

Cherry Blossom in DC
March 22 through April 6th 2004, visitors to Washington DC will be treated to the delights of the Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade. The 3000 cherry trees that color the Tidal Basin were a gift from the Japanese in 1912. They herald spring in America's capital city.

Click here to return to the top of the page.



Deals

Celebrate St Patrick's Day in New York
This fantastic offer is from North America Travel Service for travel between 15th & 19th March and includes:
•American Airlines economy class flights from Heathrow
•2 nights at the SALISBURY HOTEL
from just £326 per person

OR, 2 nights at the deluxe STANHOPE PARK HYATT, from just £413 per person

Regional flight departures from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle or Manchester start at £52 per person plus tax.

All prices are based on 2 adults sharing and do not include airport taxes of £64 or transfers.

Click
here and send me your contact details to check for availability.


Click here to return to the top of the page.



USA flight price survey

Because this is no longer a monthly newsletter, I cant really plot the month on month variations in flight prices as I did last year. Therefore, I will look at a couple of different months in each survey that represent different price bands. To show the level of price inflation I include average results from last years survey of the same period.

This being the second year of these surveys means that as mentioned above, the year on year changes in flight costs can be compared. This has thrown up some surprises.

For the 6 flights and 4 companies surveyed, the average price of flights in June has dropped 4.75% from £400 last year to £381 this.

For the 6 flights and 4 companies surveyed, the average price of flights in August has increased 2.77% from £578 last year to £594 this.

This is not a simple picture however, there is substantial variation within the results and as seen before, it clearly pays to shop around demonstrating the value of the uk-2-usa.com
online flight quote and booking page where all 4 companies flight search engines can be found. There is also clearly a difference in routes with the most popular (London - Orlando) not changing in price year on year in June when there was a fall in prices overall, and increasing 3 times more in August than the average with a 7.3% increase.

This survey looks at flights in the early summer band (June) and the very peak band (August). The survey was conducted on January 11th from the uk-2-usa.com Online flight quote and booking page. The first set of results in the table below is for one adult return fare including all taxes flying out on the 9th June and back on the 16th June. The cheapest quoted fare for each route is highlighted in red. Scroll down the page to view the August survey results.

Route
Average
2003
price

Average
2004
price

Expedia
prices

Opodo
prices

Travel4less
prices

ebookers
prices

London
to
Orlando
£ 382 £ 382 £ 384
Virgin Atlantic
£ 384
Virgin Atlantic
£ 375
British Airways
£ 384
Virgin Atlantic
London
to
Denver
£ 427 £ 385 £ 390
Continental
£ 384
United Airlines
£ 375
British Airways
£ 391
US Airways
London
to
San Francisco
£ 338 £ 349 £ 360
Continental
£ 350
Continental
£ 327
American Airlines
£ 358
American Airlines
Manchester
to
Orlando
£ 420 £ 404 £ 407
BMI
£ 398
BMI
£ 398
BMI
£ 411
BMI
Manchester
to
Denver
£ 449 £ 398 £ 404
BMI
£ 400
BMI
£ 395
BMI
£ 391
BMI
Manchester
to
San Francisco
£ 383 £ 366 £ 367
Lufthansa
£ 366
BMI
£ 363
BMI
£ 364
BMI
Average for
all 6 flights
£ 400 £ 381 £ 385 £ 380 £ 372 £ 383




The set of results in the table below is for one adult return fare including all taxes flying out on the 11th August and back on the 18th August. The cheapest quoted fare for each route is highlighted in red.

Route
Average
2003
price

Average
2004
price

Expedia
prices

Opodo
prices

Travel4less
prices

ebookers
prices

London
to
Orlando
£ 559 £ 600 £ 569
Northwest
£ 615
US Airways
£ 605
Northwest
£ 612
US Airways
London
to
Denver
£ 554 £ 576 £ 570
US Airways
£ 570
US Airways
£ 596
US Air
£ 567
US Airways
London
to
San Francisco
£ 565 £ 575 £ 570
Continental
£ 572
US Airways
£ 590
Continental
£ 566
US Airways
Manchester
to
Orlando
£ 626 £ 632 £ 622
US Airways
£ 646
Continental
£ 639
Air Canada
£ 619
US Airways
Manchester
to
Denver
£ 551 £ 596 £ 591
Continental
£ 591
Continental
£ 617
Continental
£ 586
Continental
Manchester
to
San Francisco
£ 610 £ 585 £ 577
US Airways
£ 591
Continental
£ 601
US Air
£ 571
US Airways
Average for
six flights
£ 578 £ 594 £ 583 £ 598 £ 608 £ 587


Click here to return to the top of the page.



Web site updates/news


The latter part of 2003 saw dramatic changes to the layout and content of the website. The state pages have all been updated to include maps as have each of the individual destination pages within each state. Many thanks to readers of this newsletter who gave me the feedback that led to these changes.

The routes pages on the site have also been upgraded to show the routes on maps rather than just have text links to the places visited.

The precise changes since the last newsletter have been listed below.


Click here to return to the top of the page.



Newsletter subscribe/unsubscribe

If you are reading this on the web site and you wish to receive future newsletters by e-mail click here to
subscribe to the newsletter.

If you are receiving this by e-mail it is because you have opted in to the newsletter. We do not buy e-mail addresses and we do not spam. If you no longer wish to receive these newsletters, click here to unsubscribe. If you do unsubscribe and you have the time, please include a brief message to say why this newsletter has not met your expectations, it may help me improve it for others.


Click here to return to the top of the page.



About uk-2-usa

www.uk-2-usa.com is a privately owned website. It was written to share the authors passion for travel to the USA. It is none commercial in nature with all information and advice being freely given. Although commission is made on any holidays sold through the site.

There is an associated online travel group which is also free to join where a message board allows members to share experiences, ask questions and also quiz some of our American members about their country. You may subscribe by clicking the link below.

Click to subscribe to uk2usa
Or you can look without joining by clicking here.

You can e-mail with any questions here.




Click here to return to the top of the page.



Future Newsletters

Please give me your feedback about what you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter. I will develop the format based on feedback from readers. Click
here to send me suggestions for improvements, additions or even things to avoid in future newsletters.

This is written in HTML format to make it more interactive than a simple text message. If this causes problems with your e-mail programme, please let me know by clicking here and including a brief description of the problem. This assumes that you can read this of course !

Well, thats it for the first edition of 2004.

Happy USA travelling

UK



Click here to return to the top of the page.