K We opened our Foreword for the 1978 edition with the words "there [was a time, and not so very long ago either, when the world that con-fronted the traveler abroad did not change from one decade's end to another. Prices remained stable; beaches were free from pollution, except perhaps for the occasionai stranded whale; histórie houses could only be jvisited when the owners were far away; and, if you struggled on foot to the top of a mountain, you were not confronted by a motorway snaking up the other side. The situation is very différent today and, to complicate matters, the thing that has changed most is the rate of change itself." E Those words were hardly out of our mouths when a new factor ap-toeared that radically changed the scene once more. After years of strug-gle against entrenched interests, Freddie Laker, one of Britain's penacious bulldogs, won his fight for the Skytrain. His victory set off a jprice-slashing war that has already brought trans-Atlantic prices tum-bling, and will, there is little doubt, have its repercussions on routes all over the world.
ľ Unfortunately the happier state of affairs above the Atlantic is not a-eflected in the skies over Europe. It currently costs almost as múch to fly from Britain to Germany as it does from New York to London—over fi ve times as far; while the normal fare from London to Paris is almost twice as much as that from New York to Washington, for roughly the same distance. This is a situation which badly needs remedying. It is not as if air travel is a luxurious novelty. For the most part it is a tiring and 'frustrating experience in which crowded airports, delayed flights and endless waiting for baggage ali play their part. That it is needlessly costly into the bargain (to use entirely the wrong expression) only Compounds the fault. We hope that our next Foreword will be able to record that the fseeds sown by Freddie Laker have born fruit in a new approach by ail the major airlines, who, after all, exist to serve the public, not, as it [sometimes seems, the other way round.
[ One of the best ways to beat the cost of air travel is to take full i advantage of the multitude of packages offered on both sides of the Atlantic, packages which can include hôtels, theater tickets, cars, local tours and a multitude of other valuable extras, often for less than the cost i of the regulär airfare. It is also an idea to take one of the cheaper tickets across the Atlantic and then a tour from, sáy, a British-based firm. The ways around the airfare squeeze are légion. We give you a few useful [hints in the Planning Your Trip section.
It is unfortunately not possible in a book of this size to deal with such a vast area, full of interest and variety, in as much detail as we would i wish. The hotel and restaurant listings, for example, are only intended i as a basic guide, not to be exhaustive coverages of the wealth of places [ available. In most cities, or deep in the heart of the countryside, there will be other establishments that you would enjoy every bit as much as j those contained in these pages. If you wish to learn more about the ; background, culture and travel possibilities of most of the countries in this book, we also publish individuai guides which will help you to