Shermans Travel » Blog » Amsterdam
One holiday down… a season to go! And if there’s one thing we made sure to give thanks for at our table yesterday, it’s the bevy of queer cheer Europe provides this time of year – two Pink Christmas festivals alone.
Kicking off December 1 with a World AIDS Day gala (TicNet.se), Stockholm brings the festive flavor all month long with parties, shows, and seductive Santas. Highlights include a mondo lesbian party December 11 at Södermalm clubs Momma and Roxy and an all-night affair celebrating Saint Lucia, the queen of light, on December 12. If last year’s festivities are any indication, different bars will take a non-traditional slant on the theme before Lucia “herself” drags it up, dressed in white with a crown of candles before dawn on the 13th. For more info on Pink Christmas and the whole Pink December festival, check out QX magazine (QX.se/gaymap) or Stockholm’s LGBT blog (StockholmTown.com/gay-lesbian), which will have all up-to-date info as it’s released.
American Airlines and Air Canada are in talks with the TSA regarding the launch of a trial program that would allow passengers to print and tag their own luggage for the first time in the U.S. The trial, if approved, would debut at Logan International Airport in Boston, and airlines are hoping to give it a whirl ahead of height of the busy holiday season. During the check-in process, customers would be able to print tags from a self-service kiosk and affix them to their own bags. An airline agent would then check IDs, scan the bar code, and place the luggage on a conveyor belt. In the future, airlines hope to fully automate the luggage tagging process.
According to airlines, the self-tagging procedures will not affect security since bags are scanned for explosives behind the scenes by the TSA. In fact, self-tagging is already common in some foreign airports. According to the International Air Transport Association, 32 airlines worldwide allow self-tagging. In Amsterdam and Stockholm, passengers print tags and drop off bags without ever having to see an agent.
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Already one of our airports worth the layover for its on-site art gallery and city excursions, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport ups the ante with what it claims is the first-ever airport library. Stocked with 1,100 books from the Dutch Public Libraries – as well as songs and films – the library presents a snapshot of Dutch culture for early arrivers or those just passing through on their way to another destination.
If you’ve got a few hours to kill at Schiphol, stop by the library to browse stellar examples of Dutch literature in 29 languages including Dutch, English, Spanish, and Chinese. A small selection of English- and Dutch-language songs, as well as videos in English and Dutch (with English subtitles), is also available. While the Schiphol library is intended for reference use only (you’ll have to leave that novel behind if you don’t finish), the songs and videos can be downloaded for free to cell phones.
Another perk to the library, which offers cozy spaces for reading and relaxing, is the chance to play around with one of nine iPads. The Schiphol library is located on the departure level in the airport’s “Holland Boulevard,” a showcase of Dutch food, art, and culture.
Joining the fleet of carriers boasting system-wide sales, Delta adds much-needed international destinations to its nationwide cutbacks. Round-trip flights are available from New York City to Pittsburg from $88, but it’ll be difficult choosing domestic when far-flung menu items like Seoul, Paris, and Sydney top the list from just $738 (before taxes). With round-trip flights from Boston to Bermuda – only two hours one way – in the price lead at $258, leaving the country doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming.
Topping an already incredible airfare deal to Europe, Atlantis Events just announced two new 2-for-1 deals that brings down prices on two of its mega gay summer cruises to amazingly low levels.
For the 11-day Copenhagen to Amsterdam Pride sailing July 29–August 8, “Fly for Free” with 2-for-1 airfare promotion on already low base fares, such as $499 return from Boston, New York (JFK), and Newark. Buy one flight at a regular price with Atlantis and they’ll fly the second guest over for free, minus taxes. Offer valid from any city in the U.S., Canada, or Europe, but cannot be applied to existing reservations.
Or “Cruise for Free” later in the summer, with a 2-for-1 deal aboard its 10-day Athens to Barcelona (August 24–September 2) trip on the slick new Celebrity Equinox, featuring an overnight in Tel Aviv. Book one stateroom in categories 2B-Deluxe Balcony ($2,149, per person/double occupancy) to AQ-Aquaclass ($2,899) and receive a second stateroom in the same category for free (port fees and gratuities still apply). Offer extended to current passengers if their booking qualifies.
See www.atlantisevents.com or call 800-6-ATLANTIS for booking and specific terms. Both promotions end July 15.
For more summer bargains, search our Cruise Travel Deals.
If you’ve been dreaming of a European vacation then you will want to take heed of the slashed rates that Icelandair is currently offering. Round-trip flights out of New York City, Boston, Minneapolis, and Seattle start as low as $419 and take you to cities like Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, and more! With 15 destinations to choose from and prices resembling one-way fares, it seems as though travelers from all walks of life will be reveling in this European sale.
Sample Round-Trip Fares (Excluding Taxes):
• Boston–Reykjavik: $419
• New York–Amsterdam: $579
• New York–Stockholm: $589
• Minneapolis–London: $609
• Boston– Paris: $659
• Minneapolis–Oslo: $659
• Seattle–Glasgow: $669
• And more!
THE VALUE: These rates average out to $300 cheaper than competitor round-trip fares, depending on the airline and the route. At no additional charge, passengers on Icelandair are allowed two checked bags at 50 pounds or lighter.
THE CATCH: Travel is valid between September 20 – October 15 from New York, Boston, and Seattle and September 18 – October 9 from Minneapolis
THE DETAILS: To see a list of all sale fares and to book a flight visit www.icelandair.com
Check out our Europe Travel Guide.
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Aer Lingus has announced a spring and summer sale on round-trip fares to Ireland and other exciting European destinations starting as low as $446! Travel to Ireland’s bustling east coast capital, Dublin, as well as the quaint west coast town of Shannon during the warm season. Or choose from the slew of other European destinations that made their way into this sale, including London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Munich, and more! Travel to Ireland is valid through August 22, while travel to other Europe destinations is valid through May 31. Editor’s Note: The book by date for this sale has been extended to April 21.
Sample Round-Trip Fares (Taxes Not Included):
• New York City?Madrid: $446
• New York City?Paris:$446
• New York City?Rome: $622
• Chicago?Dublin: $682
• New York?Shannon: $682
• Chicago?London: $682
• Boston?Dublin: $702
• And more!
To book your flight visit www.travelocity.com
The Netherlands-based Martinair was known as a cargo airline for years, but its passenger service has remained under-the-radar among U.S. travelers. However, the airline offers a vast route network from Orlando to international destinations in Europe, Asia, and more. This February, Martinair is offering sale fares on direct flights from Orlando to Amsterdam starting from just $256 (each way). Even after taxes factored in, the round-trip total comes out to $611 – that’s $200-$400 less than competitor airlines.
Travel to Amsterdam is valid from February 1 through 28, but tickets must be purchased by February 15. In addition, this winter sale includes flights to Delhi, Tel Aviv, Madrid, and more starting from $376 (each way) for travel through March 31.
For more information, or to book a ticket, visit www.martinair.com.
Delta Airlines has launched a winter fare sale to nearly every destination in its route network. This includes flights within the U.S., Europe, and more. Fares are priced from $49 each way for short-haul flights, $99 for coast-to-coast departures, and just $259 to Europe. Travel is valid through March 11 for domestic jaunts, or through March 18 for international flights. Tickets must be booked by January 21, and a 14-day advance purchase is required. Some blackout dates apply.
Domestic carriers aren’t the only ones encouraging travelers to start 2010 off in the air; U.K.-based bmi is also slashing rates on airfare by as much as 50 percent! This impressive sale encompasses dozens of destinations worldwide including Europe from $161 each way, Africa from $374, Asia from $478, and more. Fly from New York, Washington D.C., Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, and many other major U.S. hubs. Just be sure to book quickly – this sale ends January 18.
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