ORLANDO -- US Airways Vacations' decision to expand its Distinctive
Vacations product to Bermuda will mean a new source of revenue for
agents selling the destination.
It also will mean the ability to deliver two-night and longer
vacations that should satisfy the expectations of upscale clients,
according to Kris Potter, vice president and general manager of the
Mark Travel-owned tour firm.
Distinctive Vacations, what US Airways Vacations calls its
"finest vacation packages for discerning travelers," had been
limited to Europe for the past two years but was expanded last
month to include Bermuda and the Caribbean.
Potter said that even without the Distinctive Vacations product,
the tour operator's Bermuda and Caribbean passenger count increased
by 8% during the first eight months of 2002 vs. the same period
last year. Agents, she said, provide 80% of the operator's Bermuda
Potter said that the Distinctive Vacations line should be
offered only to those clients who ask for more than the usual
vacation and can afford to pay for it.
US Airways' frequent flyer clients who use their miles to fly
first class are welcome to buy the Bermuda Distinctive Vacations
land package, although the vast majority of the sales are expected
to involve revenue passengers, Potter said.
Agents selling the Distinctive line earn 10% base pay on both
land and first class air (which is mandatory), she said.
"Commissions exceeding 10% can be earned by agents holding
Preferred Partnership agreements," she said. "For clients, there
can be a possible savings on some flights, as bulk first class
fares may be offered."
To find out about these savings, agents should ask the
reservationist, she said. However, clients always will pay the
lowest first class fare, she added.
At times there may be other value-added features provided, she
said, such as sightseeing and bonus miles for frequent flyers.
Distinctive Bermuda Vacations cover roundtrip air, luxury
accommodations, airport transfers, hotel tax, hotel service charge
and $77.60 in international travel taxes.
Elbow Beach Bermuda, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and the
Fairmont Southampton Princess are the hotel choices. If demand
warrants, the hotel choices will be expanded, she said.
Some sample three-night Bermuda rates, the lowest available for
off-season periods, are valid for Monday departures Nov. 4 through
The plans include first class air and accommodations at the
Elbow Beach Bermuda.
The rates are $1,377 per person, double, from Boston; $1,433
from New York (LaGuardia); $1,444 from Baltimore, Washington and
Philadelphia; $1,496 from Pittsburgh; and $1,588 from Charlotte,
For the Fairmont Southampton Princess, prices are $1,400 from
Boston; $1,456 from LaGuardia; $1,467 from Baltimore, Washington or
Philadelphia; $1,519 from Pittsburgh; and $1,611 from
For the Fairmont Hamilton, rates are $1,309 from Boston; $1,365
from LaGuardia; $1,376 from Baltimore, Washington or Philadelphia;
$1,428 from Pittsburgh; and $1520 from Charlotte.
Rates are higher for arrivals through Nov. 3, reflecting
US Airways Vacations also offers 10% commissionable Vacations
Your Way sightseeing options, which must be booked in advance,
These include admission to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
at $9 per adult and $5 for ages 5 to 12. The same rates apply for
Also offered are admission to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration
Institute, $10 per adult; $5 for ages 7 to 16.
Another choice is the seven-day Heritage Pass covering a variety
of attractions, such as Fort St. Catherine, the Bermuda Maritime
Museum and the Bermuda National Trust Museum, available for $35 per
adult, $17 for ages 6 to 18.
For details, call (800) 455-0123 or book through Vax Vacation
Access or the major GDSs.