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The charter flights division of Harvard Student Agencies surprised 250 people this week when it cancelled their reservations on five of its seven summer flights to Europe.
The charter flights division, boasting "15 years of reliable service," has until now been one of HSA's biggest moneymakers. But competition from other charter flight organizers and from commercial youth fare rates apparently has priced HSA out of the market.
For example, the round-trip youth fare to Rome on Alitalia Airlines is $199. "This is crazy." Harold Rosenwald '27, attorney for HSA, said Wednesday. "We can't possibly compete with this."
"Chances are that HSA will revamp its operation and go into the travel business as a whole," he added. "I don't think we're going to walk away from the travel business."
Late last spring, the University started fighting a losing battle when it authorized HSA as the sole organizer of Harvard charter flights. But when Uni-Travel, an outside travel agency, offered a charter flight to Acapulco this spring, the University couldn't find the student who was Uni-Travel's Harvard liason. He would have been subject to University discipline.
Ironically enough, administrators in University and Mass Halls had reasoned that they wanted to protect HSA because, unlike outside agencies. HSA did not have the practice of cancelling flights at the last moment.
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