Swiss Rail passes have undergone a bit of a make-over this year and there's both good and bad news. Rail travelers to Switzerland who need a single round trip pass, or a 3 or 4 day pass, will pay less than in 1999. Prices for passes of longer durations have increased, however.

Last year, a lone traveler paid $264 first class and $188 second class for the basic, 4-consecutive-day Swiss Pass. The 2000 prices are $245 and $160 respectively. Last year, for two persons traveling together the regular 4-day Swiss Pass was discounted to $211 (1cl) and $150 (2cl). That discount, now called the Swiss Saverpass, applies to two or more persons traveling together and the 4-day price is $208 (1cl) and $138 (2cl).

Unfortunately, the 8-day, 15-day, 21-day, and one month passes have all increased by from about 4% to 14%.

The same is true for flexi passes (nonconsecutive days travel in a one-month period). Discounts are now extended to more than two persons traveling together and last year's discounted Swiss Flexi Pass has become the Swiss Saver Flexipass. Prices for 3 and 4-day Swiss Flexipasses and Swiss Saver Flexipasses are slightly lower than last year, but are higher for 5 to 9-day passes.

The Swiss Card, which offers one round trip from any border town or airport to any single destination in Switzerland, has been reduced from $166 to $138 first class and from $128 to $104 second class. In addition, during the one-month period, the pass holder can purchase point-to-point rail tickets at a 50% discount.

Another new product, the Swiss Transfer Ticket, is probably best used for winter holidays and includes two free transfers by rail between any Swiss airport or border town and any single destination in Switzerland. It's prices are $107 (1cl) and $71 (2cl).

• The German leisure airline, LTU, has announced special spring, summer and fall U.S.-Germany fares. They are valid for travel between May and October 2000 and tickets must be purchased by March 15, 2000.

For Florida departures between May 1 and June 15 and in September, the roundtrip airfare is $558. For departures between June 16 and August 31 the roundtrip rate is $758. October travel is $498 roundtrip. LTU offers scheduled nonstop flights from Miami, Orlando and Ft. Myers to Düsseldorf and from Ft. Myers to Frankfurt.

From Los Angeles, for departures between May 1 and June 15 and again in September and October the fare is $648. High season departures (June 16 to August 31) are $898. LTU offers nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Düsseldorf twice weekly beginning May 1 and weekly nonstops between LAX and Munich beginning May 6. Offline connections from many other cities in Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada are available. Fares from the West Coast to Munich via LAX are $40 higher. Contact: LTU 800-888-0200.

Austrian Airlines will begin new service to Vienna from Washington DC and Chicago effective Sunday, March 26.

* (U.S. Dollar prices quoted in this issue of Gemütlichkeit may be inaccurate for these reasons:
* Prices in local currency have not been updated since the date of publication of this newsletter, and...
* The dollar prices shown were obtained by using exchange rates in effect at the time of publication.)

January 2000