JERICHO, N.Y. -- Travel agents looking for low fares and 8% to 10% commissions on flights to Italy can take advantage of Fantasy Holidays' 1999 program, set to kick off in May.

The 19-year-old company, which bills itself as the largest U.S. charter operator to Italy, will operate roundtrip, nonstop service to Rome from $499.

New York-area flights are scheduled from Kennedy Airport on Sundays and from Newark, N.J., on Thursdays.

Flights are operated by Air Europe. Passengers can book business class seats for an additional $50, according to company president John DeLeo, who said, "These seats sell first."

"The seats are business class seats, but the food is not business class food," he said. Packages are commissionable from 10%; air-only from 8%, with overrides available based on volume.

Addressing potential concerns about the dependability of a charter company vs. a scheduled airline, DeLeo said, "We have been doing this for 19 consecutive years, and agents know we are reliable."

To assist clients should they run into problems in Rome, the company has a local office that they can call, he said. In addition to air-only service, the company features fly-drives and scheduled escorted tours. A sample six-night tour includes stays in Rome, Florence and Venice and is priced from $1,478 per person, double, including air.

The rate does not include a $55 air tax; supplemental air fares apply on certain peak period departures.

Fantasy Holidays

Phone: (800) 645-2555; groups, (800) 247-6877

Fax: (516) 932-4622

Web: www.fantasyholidays.com

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