Travel Weekly's Vegas E-Letter July 15, 2003

SOUTHWEST ON SALE: Southwest Airlines Vacations lowered its prices on Las Vegas packages that are booked by Aug. 7 for travel Aug. 18 to Oct. 27. Travel plans include roundtrip air via Southwest Airlines, hotel accommodations, Rapid Rewards credit and 24-hour traveler assistance. Sample per-person prices for a two-night stay at the Westward Ho start at $69 from Los Angeles, $119 from Seattle, $174 from Austin and $184 from Chicago [Midway]. Sample per-person prices for a two-night stay at The Mirage start at $134 from Los Angeles, $184 from Seattle, $239 from Austin, and $249 from Chicago [Midway]. To book, agents can call (800) 423-5683 or log onto www.swavacations.com or www.vaxvacationaccess.com.

GO WEST, YOUNG MAN: Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who opened the Mesa Grill in New York City in 1991, is set to bring that concept to Las Vegas. The Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace, which will serve Southwestern cuisine for lunch and dinner just steps from the property's new Colosseum, is anticipated to open next spring.

ROYAL VIEWING: More than 250 pieces from the private collection of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire will be on display at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Sept. 13 to Jan. 18. The collection, with some pieces 500 years old, will include Old Master paintings and drawings, sculptures, porcelain, gems, jewelry, furniture, photographs, and rare books and manuscripts. The gallery is open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets for this exhibition are $15 general admission and $12 for students, Nevada residents and visitors age 65 and older. For more information, call (702) 693-7871 or (877) 957-9777, or visit www.bgfa.biz.

TMA EXPANDS SERVICE: Beginning Aug. 28, TransMeridian Airlines will operate nonstop service to Las Vegas from Florida's Orlando Sanford Int'l Airport as well as Toledo Express Airport in Ohio. Florida flights are scheduled for Thursdays and Sundays using a 200-seat Boeing 757-200ER, which offers a 10-seat first-class cabin. Introductory one-way fares, good for travel through Sept. 30, start at $89 per person. After that, prices start at $99 per person each way. The Toledo service will operate Mondays and Fridays using Boeing 727s and 757s. Fares start at $89 per person one way, but for clients who fly Aug. 28 to Sept. 30, an introductory fare starts at $79 one way. For more details or to book, phone (866) IFLYTMA or visit www.iflytma.com, which offers a 5% discount for online bookings.

RIDERS IN THE SKY: The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower is planning to open a new thrill ride this fall. Temporarily named Project X Sky, the ride, which the property will construct in conjunction with Interactive Rides of Logon, Utah, will send riders over the edge of the Stratosphere Tower's outdoor observation deck, almost 900 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. The ride consists of an open, floorless vehicle that will hold eight passengers in "escape proof" seats. The vehicle is attached to a pivoting track that propels the vehicle 27 feet over the edge of the tower at 30 miles per hour. Riders will experience free-fall maneuvers while traveling back and forth repeatedly from the tower's edge. Project X Sky will be the world's third-highest thrill ride--coming in right behind the Stratosphere's Big Shot thrill ride and High Roller roller coaster, which are ranked the first and second highest, respectively.

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