Airline Web Sites

I AM WRITING in response to "Airline Web Sites, Poised for Takeoff?" [May 29] regarding a recent experience. I needed two tickets to Cincinnati at the last minute and bought them the day before we flew. I checked the major airlines' sites and tickets were generally over $500. Then I checked the search sites such as Travelocity and Priceline. Priceline had tickets for $222, including all fees, on US Airways.

I then tried to book the exact flight combinations on US Airways' Web site so I could earn the extra 1,000 frequent-flier miles for booking online. When I had no luck finding the flight for the low price, I called the airline. I was told that the seats on those flights were no longer available through US Airways since it had sold those seats to Priceline. I wonder for what price US Airways sold the seats to Priceline and how much the markup was, and I would have enjoyed reading about that angle in your article. In any event, I was thrilled to find such a deal at the last minute.

Rachel Tumidolsky

Takoma Park

DownEast Maine, Cont'd

ALASKA IS indeed the easternmost state [Message Center, May 29]. Marshall S. Berdan still was the first person to see the earliest sunrise in the United States, including Alaska. While east-west is defined at the 180-degree meridian, the time zones are not. The "easternmost" Aleutians are in the westernmost time zone.

John F. Lyons

Olney

CONGRATS TO M.S. Winston for the suggestion that one of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska is the easternmost point in the U.S. That's a clever observation, but not quite correct. The 180th meridian does in fact go through the Aleutians. However, the International Dateline takes a dogleg turn around the state.

Alaska, all of it, is therefore firmly to the east of the line. Maine is still the easternmost state.

James P. Lynch

King George, Va.

I, TOO, ENJOYED the piece by Marshall Berdan about the first light in Maine. His encounter reminded me of a short story by Katherine Mansfield, "At the Bay." The scene goes as follows:

A few moments later the back door of one of the bungalows opened, and a figure in a broad-striped bathing suit flung down the paddock, cleared the stile, rushed through the tussock grass into the hollow, staggered up the sandy hillock, and raced for dear life over the big porous stones, over the cold, wet pebbles, on to the hard sand that gleamed like oil. Splish-Splosh! Splish-Splosh! The water bubbled round his legs as Stanley Burnell waded out exulting. First man in as usual! He'd beaten them all again. And he swooped down to souse his head and neck.

"Hail, brother! All hail, Thou Mighty One!" A velvety bass voice came booming over the water.

Great Scott! Damnation take it! Stanley lifted up to see a dark head bobbing far out and an arm lifted. It was Jonathan Trout -- there before him! "Glorious morning!" sang the voice.

It was nice to see life imitating art.

Claire O'Brien

Woodbridge

IF IN THE AREA and on your way to Eastport or Lubec from Ellsworth, I would highly recommend a brief hike on the Cutler Coastal Trail. The views are stunning and serene.

Thanks again for the great article on this very beautiful part of Maine!

Krysten Jenci

Chevy Chase

Cell Phones Abroad

I WAS AMAZED by the prices you quoted for cell phones to use overseas [Travel Q&A, May 22]. I bought a Nokia from www.mobal.com about 18 months ago. It costs $49. I have used it to call home from Italy, France and Thailand. You pay only for the calls you make (or receive). The cost of calls varies by country. One can also choose rental but, given I travel abroad a lot, I preferred purchasing. I have been very pleased with the service. I prefer a cell phone to phone cards, as one can use it anywhere, at any time (also, of course, for calls within the country one is visiting).

Nicole Lester

Rockville

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