Travel Weekly's Europe E-letter: May 25, 2005

SLOW DOWN: Earlier predictions that 2005 might be a record year for U.S. arrivals on the Continent might have been off the mark a bit. According to the May 20 "Trans-Atlantic" report from New York-based Donald N. Martin & Co., departures to Europe could be slowing, with the top nine transatlantic air carriers reporting an average 7.6% increase in traffic for April, down from 8.7% in March. And although overall U.S. overseas departures were up 11.9% last year, Europe's share dipped one-tenth of a percent, to 44.8%. Despite a slightly stronger dollar this spring, it will be tough to beat record year 2000; that would require a 7.2% jump on last year's figures -- an unlikely scenario. For more information or to subscribe to the report, visit www.dnmartinco.com online.

DEPARTURES:

* EuropeByAir added Germany's Aero Flight to its discount FlightPass program, expanding its reach to more than 250 European cities via partner carriers accepting its one-way, $99 tickets. Frankfurt-based Aero Flight connects six German cities with Russia, Italy, Spain, Greece and Bosnia. For reservations or information, go to www.europebyair.com or call (888) 231-9455.

* U.K. airline BMI revamped operations, switching to a "modular" business model distinguished by a simplified, three-level fare system; single-class service; in-flight meal sales; and more electronic-based customer services, such as airport self-check-in kiosks. BMI said a six-month study of 10,000 air travelers prompted the changes, which should result in almost $60 million in annual savings. See www.flybmi.com for more.

BANNED AHOY: Citing "changing attitudes in Europe," Peter Deilmann Cruises expanded nonsmoking restrictions on both its nine Europe-based river ships and its ocean-going vessel, the Deutschland. The line now forbids smoking -- long banned in onboard restaurants -- in cabins and corridors and is restricting smoking in public lounges to designated areas. It also banned smoking in the Deutschland's Emperor's Ballroom and Lido Terrace.  For more, see www.deilmann-cruises.com.

HISTORIC TREATMENTS: A 2,500-square-foot spa opened at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, set on a 1,000-year-old, 500-acre estate outside London. The spa -- which occupies converted and restored 18th century stables -- boasts a 60-foot-plus indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and 15 treatment rooms. For more information, see www.fourseasons.com.

EUROPEAN VALUES:
* Baglioni Hotel London is offering fixed U.S. dollar rates through Aug. 31. Single-night stays are priced from $332.50 a night for a superior room to $1,048.25 a night for a superior suite. The hotel also has getaways -- with daily breakfast; wine and hors d'oeuvres on arrival; round trip hotel transfers, and more -- from $490 to $1,135.75 per night. Contact Baglioni Hotel London at www.baglionihotels.com or  (011) 44-207 368-5800.
* Maupintour is knocking $300 per person off its 13-night "limited edition" Palio d'Asti and the Italian Harvest program to northern Italy. The program includes stays in Asolo, Bolzano,  Penango, Parma, Ferrara and the Palazzo Arzaga near Lake Garda. Rates include 14 breakfasts, six lunches and seven dinners. Land-only prices are from $5,539 per person, double occupancy, for a Sept. 10 departure when booked by Aug. 10. (Refer to source code PRPAL300 when booking.) For information on this or other Limited Edition programs, call (800) 255-4266 or visit www.maupintour.com.

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