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October 2000 Vol. 15, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Asia On The Cheap

from the October, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

For a mere $99 a flight, you can wing yourself around southeast Asia, jetting from cities as far apart as Singapore and Manila, using the ASEAN Air Pass. Its a collaborative effort among seven of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

If you fly an airline of a participating country, such as Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways, into one of the nations, you can buy $99 coupons for one-way flights between two Asian destinations, which might include Jakarta, Borneo, Manado, Sulawesi, even Saigon. Three coupons are required as the minimum purchase for the pass (six is the maximum), but even if you throw away the third coupon, the Manado diving trip from Singapore would cost you $297 on Silk Air, compared with the regular fare of $820. The Air Pass can also shave the cost of your basic fare. If youre going to Jakarta but can find only a super-cheap fare to Bangkok, fly to Bangkok and use a $99 coupon for a connecting flight to Jakarta.

Airlines have made the Air Pass one of the best-kept secrets of Asian travel. They do not even mention the pass on their websites. But the Wall Street Journal has tracked down the two-year-old bargain, and well-versed travel agencies such as American Express can dig it up. The pass will be relaunched in three months as ASEAN Air and Hotel Pass, with an added option of low rates in participating hotels.

(Asian Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2000, article by Stan Sesser)

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