e are saddened by the bankruptcy of American Classic Voyages, and not only for the usual reasons. Like any supplier bankruptcy, American Classic's Chapter 11 filing creates hardship and inconvenience for thousands of agents, agency clients, creditors and suppliers, not to mention its own employees. And, as with any supplier bankruptcy, we harbor the hope that a way can be found to reorganize the company so that its constituencies can pick up the pieces and move on.

But in this case we're also rooting for the survival of unique and uniquely American products. There should be a place in the travel industry's domestic product line for overnight riverboats, for all-Hawaii interisland cruises and for the new coastal steamers for coastwise U.S. itineraries.

True, other companies can offer these or similar products, and other companies may eventually step in to fulfill any unsatisfied demand in the marketplace should any of these products go away.

But we believe it is a good thing that an American company made it its business to offer all these unique cruise products under the U.S. flag. That was, and is, a worthy pursuit. And if American Classic cannot succeed with it, we surely hope that someone else will.


ero is back. Zero was in the news a few months ago when it became the Northwest/KLM commission rate for Internet bookings. Its arrival set off alarm bells, and the stock prices of Expedia and Travelocity went reeling. Now Zero has been adopted as the Continental commission rate for Internet bookings.

Online sellers of travel apparently must resign themselves to Zero's presence in the online world. Other travel sellers, meanwhile, might want to think of ways to prepare for its arrival in theirs.

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