In the late 16th century it became fashionable for young European aristocrats and wealthy upper class men to travel to significant European cities as part of their education in the arts and literature. This was known as the Grand Tour, it included cities such as London, Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome. However, The French revolution brought with it the end of the Grand Tour.[7]
Email (phishing) and telephone scams are common methods used by criminals to lure people into disclosing personal information such as credit card numbers and account information. These scams intentionally impersonate trusted brands to leverage goodwill and avoid suspicion. They appear to be authentic and may go so far as to use logos and official sounding email addresses.
The confusion is even worse if you want to fly internationally. Official fares to most countries are set via a treaty organization called the IATA, so most computer systems list only IATA fares for international flights. It's easy to find entirely legal ``consolidator'' tickets sold for considerably less than the official price, however, so an online or offline agent is extremely useful for getting the best price. The airlines also can have some impressive online offers on their web sites.
The U.S. airline industry is chronically in dreadful shape, with Aloha, ATA, Skybus, Eos, Silverjet, Maxjet, and now Zoom having shut down. Midwest merged into Frontier. American went bankrupt and the corpse merged into US Airways, although the surviving company is still called American. Sun Country went bankrupt but is still flying, Frontier went bankrupt but seems to be surviving as part of regional carrier Republic, and most of the remaining airlines are hanging on with a combination of somewhat higher fares (much higer for trans-Atlantic) and very full planes. The weak economy has kept them from raising fares as much as they want, but they're not passing on the recent lower fuel prices. Southwest and Airtran, two relatively healthy low-fare carriers have merged, with the surviving airline Southwest with more east coast and international routes.

Four giant airline computer systems in the United States handle nearly all the airline reservations in the country. (They're known as CRSs, for computer reservations systems, or more often now GDS for global distribution systems.) Although each airline has a ``home'' CRS, the systems are all interlinked so that you can, with few exceptions, buy tickets for any airline from any CRS. The dominant systems in the U.S. are Sabre (home to American and US Airways), Galileo (home to United), Worldspan (home to Delta, Northwest), and Amadeus (many European lines.) The company that owned Galileo and Orbitz recently bought Worldspan, so the two GDS will presumably be merged. Many of the low-price start-up airlines don't participate in any of these systems but have their own Web sites where you can check flights and buy tickets. Southwest, the largest and oldest of the low-price airlines, doesn't participate, either. Southwest's web site gets car and hotel info from Galileo, but the info seems not to flow the other way. Orbitz one of the big three online travel agencies, runs its own system which is "direct connect" linked directly to many of the airlines.
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